Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Overview
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (PRC), the other being Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

. A city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

 situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta
Pearl River Delta
The Pearl River Delta , Zhujiang Delta or Zhusanjiao in Guangdong province, People's Republic of China is the low-lying area surrounding the Pearl River estuary where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea...

 and South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...

, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour. With a land mass of 1104 km² (426.3 sq mi) and a population of seven million people, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
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Timeline

1839   The United Kingdom captures Hong Kong as a base as it prepares for war with Qing China. The ensuing 3-year conflict will later be known as the First Opium War.

1841   The United Kingdom formally occupies Hong Kong, which China later formally cedes.

1906   A typhoon with tsunami kills an estimated 10,000 people in Hong Kong.

1941   World War II: Hong Kong falls to the Japanese Imperial Army.

1942   {{USS|Grouper|SS-214|6}} torpedoes ''Lisbon Maru'' not knowing she is carrying British PoWs from Hong Kong

1945   Hong Kong is liberated from Japan by British Armed Forces.

1945   World War II: The surrender of the Japanese troops in Hong Kong. The surrender is accepted by the Royal Navy Admiral Sir Cecil Harcourt.

1946   Cathay Pacific Airways is founded in Hong Kong.

1967   The establishment of TVB, the first wireless commercial television station in Hong Kong.

1969   The United Kingdom introduces the British fifty-pence coin, which replaced, over the following years, the British ten-shilling note, in anticipation of the decimalization of the British currency in 1971, and the abolition of the shilling as a unit of currency anywhere in the world. (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, etc., had already abolished the shilling in favor of a decimal currency with exactly 100 pence per pound sterling or dollar, whichever was applicable.}

 
Encyclopedia
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (PRC), the other being Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

. A city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

 situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta
Pearl River Delta
The Pearl River Delta , Zhujiang Delta or Zhusanjiao in Guangdong province, People's Republic of China is the low-lying area surrounding the Pearl River estuary where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea...

 and South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...

, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour. With a land mass of 1104 km² (426.3 sq mi) and a population of seven million people, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Hong Kong's population is 95 percent ethnic Chinese and 5 percent from other groups. Hong Kong's Han Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 majority originate mainly from the cities of Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 and Taishan
Taishan
Taishan is a coastal county-level city in Guangdong Province, China. The city is part of the Greater Taishan Region....

 in the neighbouring Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 province.

Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 after the First Opium War
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

 (1839–42). Originally confined to Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island is an island in the southern part of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It has a population of 1,289,500 and its population density is 16,390/km², as of 2008...

, the colony's boundaries were extended in stages to the Kowloon Peninsula
Kowloon Peninsula
The Kowloon Peninsula is a peninsula that forms the southern part of the main landmass in the territory of Hong Kong. The Kowloon Peninsula and the area of New Kowloon are collectively known as Kowloon....

 in 1860 and then the New Territories
New Territories
New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong, alongside Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. It makes up 86.2% of Hong Kong's territory. Historically, it is the region described in The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory...

 in 1898. It was occupied by Japan
Japanese occupation of Hong Kong
The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong began after the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Young, surrendered the territory of Hong Kong to Japan on 25 December 1941 after 18 days of fierce fighting by British and Canadian defenders against overwhelming Japanese Imperial forces. The occupation lasted...

 during the Pacific War
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

, after which the British resumed control until 1997, when China resumed sovereignty. The region espoused minimum government intervention under the ethos of positive non-interventionism
Positive non-interventionism
Positive non-interventionism was the economic policy of Hong Kong; this policy can be traced back to the time when Hong Kong was under British rule...

 during the colonial era. The time period greatly influenced the current culture of Hong Kong
Culture of Hong Kong
The culture of Hong Kong can best be described as a foundation that began with China, and became more influenced by British colonialism. Despite the 1997 transfer of sovereignty to the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong continues to hold an identity of its own.-People in the culture:Most Hong...

, often described as "East meets West", and the educational system
Education in Hong Kong
Education in Hong Kong has a similar system to that of the United Kingdom, in particular the English education system of Hong Kong was modernised by the British in 1861. The system is often described as extremely competitive by global standards....

, which used to loosely follow the system in England until reforms implemented in 2009.

Under the principle of "one country, two systems
One country, two systems
"One country, two systems" is an idea originally proposed by Deng Xiaoping, then Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China , for the reunification of China during the early 1980s...

", Hong Kong has a different political system from mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

. Hong Kong's independent judiciary functions under the common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 framework. The Basic Law of Hong Kong, its constitutional document, which stipulates that Hong Kong shall have a "high degree of autonomy" in all matters except foreign relations and military defence, governs its political system
Politics of Hong Kong
Politics of Hong Kong takes place in a framework of a political system dominated by its constitutional document, the Basic Law of Hong Kong, its own legislature, the Chief Executive as the head of government, and of a multi-party system...

. Although it has a burgeoning multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

, a small-circle electorate controls half of its legislature
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
The Legislative Council is the unicameral legislature of Hong Kong.-History:The Legislative Council of Hong Kong was set up in 1843 as a colonial legislature under British rule...

. An 800-person Election Committee
Election Committee
The Election Committee is an 800-member electoral college in the politics of Hong Kong. It was established by Annex I of the Basic Law of Hong Kong. This article defines the method of electing the Chief Executive. It is renewed every five years when the sitting Chief Executive's term has expired...

 selects the Chief Executive of Hong Kong
Chief Executive of Hong Kong
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is the President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong and head of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The position was created to replace the Governor of Hong Kong, who was the head of the Hong Kong government during British rule...

, the head of government.

As one of the world's leading international financial centres, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterised by low taxation and free trade, and the currency, Hong Kong dollar
Hong Kong dollar
The Hong Kong dollar is the currency of the jurisdiction. It is the eighth most traded currency in the world. In English, it is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively HK$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

, is the eighth most traded currency in the world. The lack of space caused demand for denser constructions, which developed the city to a centre for modern architecture
Architecture of Hong Kong
The Architecture of Hong Kong features great emphasis on Contemporary architecture, specially Modernism, Postmodernism, Functionalism, etc. Due to the lack of available land, few historical buildings remain in the urban areas of Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong has become a centre for modern...

 and the world's most vertical city. The dense space also led to a highly developed transportation
Transport in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a highly developed and sophisticated transport network, encompassing both public and private transport. Over 90% of the daily journeys are on public transport, making it the highest rate in the world....

 network with public transport travelling rate exceeding 90 percent, the highest in the world. Hong Kong has numerous high international rankings
International rankings of Hong Kong
This is a list of International rankings of Hong Kong....

 in various aspects. For instance, its economic freedom
Economy of Hong Kong
As one of the world's leading international financial centres, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterised by low taxation and free trade, and the currency, Hong Kong dollar, is the ninth most traded currency in the world. Hong Kong has remained as the world's freest economy,...

, financial and economic competitiveness, quality of life
Quality of life
The term quality of life is used to evaluate the general well-being of individuals and societies. The term is used in a wide range of contexts, including the fields of international development, healthcare, and politics. Quality of life should not be confused with the concept of standard of...

, corruption perception, Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

, etc., are all ranked highly.

Etymology


The name "Hong Kong" is an approximate phonetic rendering of the pronunciation of the spoken Cantonese or Hakka name "香港", meaning "fragrant harbour". Before 1842, the name referred to a small inlet – now Aberdeen Harbour or Little Hong Kong – between the island of Ap Lei Chau
Ap Lei Chau
Ap Lei Chau , or Aberdeen Island, is an island of Hong Kong, located south-west of Hong Kong Island, next to Aberdeen Harbour and Aberdeen Channel, with an area of 1.30 km². Administratively, it is part of Southern District. Ap Lei Chau is the third most densely populated island in the world.-...

 and the south side of Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island is an island in the southern part of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It has a population of 1,289,500 and its population density is 16,390/km², as of 2008...

, which was one of the first points of contact between British sailors and local fishermen.

The reference to fragrance may refer to the harbour waters sweetened by the fresh water estuarine influx of the Pearl River
Pearl River (China)
The Pearl River or less commonly, the "Guangdong River" or "Canton River" etc., , is an extensive river system in southern China. The name Pearl River is usually used as a catchment term to refer to the watersheds of the Xi Jiang , the Bei Jiang , and the Dong Jiang...

, or to the incense from factories lining the coast to the north of Kowloon, which was stored around Aberdeen Harbour for export before the development of Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour is a natural landform harbour situated between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula in Hong Kong. The harbour's deep, sheltered waters and strategic location on the South China Sea were instrumental in Hong Kong's establishment as a British colony and its subsequent...

. In 1842, the Treaty of Nanking
Treaty of Nanking
The Treaty of Nanking was signed on 29 August 1842 to mark the end of the First Opium War between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Qing Dynasty of China...

 was signed, and the name Hong Kong was first recorded on official documents to encompass the entirety of the island.

Pre-colonial


Archaeological
Archaeology of China
The archaeology of China is researched intensively in the universities of the region and also attracts considerable international interest on account of the region's civilizations.-Overview:...

 studies support a human presence in the Chek Lap Kok
Chek Lap Kok
Chek Lap Kok was an island in the western waters of Hong Kong. Together with the smaller Lam Chau, it was leveled and merged via land reclamation into the platform for the current Hong Kong International Airport, which opened for commercial operations in 1998...

 area from 35,000 to 39,000 years ago, and in Sai Kung Peninsula
Sai Kung Peninsula
Sai Kung Peninsula is a peninsula in the easternmost part of the New Territories in Hong Kong. Its name comes from Sai Kung Town in the central southern area of the peninsula...

 from 6,000 years ago. Wong Tei Tung
Wong Tei Tung
Wong Tei Tung is an area of Upper Paleolithic settlement in Hong Kong. It is located near Sham Chung, beside Three Fathoms Cove of Sai Kung Peninsula.The findings were discovered by the Hong Kong Archaeological Society.-External links:* ....

 and Three Fathoms Cove
Three Fathoms Cove
Three Fathoms Cove or Kei Ling Ha Hoi is a cove in Tai Po District, Hong Kong. It is surrounded by Shap Sze Heung , Kei Ling Ha , Yung Shue O , Wong Tei Tung and Sham Chung . Most of its east shore constitutes part of the Sai Kung West Country Park.The cove's north is connected to Tolo Harbour...

 are the two earliest sites of human habitation in the Palaeolithic period. It is believed the Three Fathom Cove was a river valley settlement and Wong Tei Tung was a lithic manufacturing site. Excavated Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 artefacts suggest cultural differences from the Longshan culture
Longshan culture
The Longshan culture was a late Neolithic culture in China, centered on the central and lower Yellow River and dated from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC...

 in northern China and settlement by the Che people
Che people
The Che people are a branch of the Yao people found in the Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces of China. Outside of those areas, they are also known as the She people.-History:...

 prior to the migration of the Baiyue. Eight petroglyph
Petroglyph
Petroglyphs are pictogram and logogram images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images...

s were discovered on surrounding islands, which dated to the Shang Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 in China.

In 214 BC, Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang , personal name Ying Zheng , was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC during the Warring States Period. He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC...

, the first emperor of China, conquered the Baiyue tribes in Jiaozhi
Jiaozhi
Jiaozhi was the name of all or part of Vietnam's territory, from the Hùng Vương era to the middle of the Third Chinese domination, and during the Fourth Chinese domination.-Giao Chỉ in the Văn Lang era:...

 (modern Liangguang
Liangguang
Liangguang is a term referring to the province of Guangdong and autonomous region of Guangxi on the southern coast of China. Before 1988, Guangdong province also included what is now the province of Hainan.-History:...

 region) and incorporated the territory into imperial China for the first time. Modern Hong Kong is located in Nanhai commandery (modern Nanhai District) and near the ancient capital city Pun Yue. The area was consolidated under the kingdom of Nanyue
Nanyue
Nanyue was an ancient kingdom that consisted of parts of the modern Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Yunnan and northern Vietnam. Nanyue was established in 204 BC at the final collapse of the Qin Dynasty by Zhao Tuo, who was the military commander of Nanhai Commandery at the time, and...

, founded by general Zhao Tuo in 204 BC after the Qin Dynasty collapsed. When the kingdom was conquered by Emperor Wu of Han
Emperor Wu of Han
Emperor Wu of Han , , personal name Liu Che , was the seventh emperor of the Han Dynasty of China, ruling from 141 BC to 87 BC. Emperor Wu is best remembered for the vast territorial expansion that occurred under his reign, as well as the strong and centralized Confucian state he organized...

 in 111 BC, the land was assigned to the Jiaozhi commandery under the Han Dynasty. Archaeological evidence indicates the population increased and early salt production flourished in this time period. Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb
Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum
The Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum is composed of an ancient brick tomb and of an exhibition hall adjacent to it. It is located at 41 Tonkin Street, in Cheung Sha Wan, Sham Shui Po District, in the northwestern part of the Kowloon Peninsula of Hong Kong.-The tomb:According to the structure,...

 in the Kowloon Peninsula
Kowloon Peninsula
The Kowloon Peninsula is a peninsula that forms the southern part of the main landmass in the territory of Hong Kong. The Kowloon Peninsula and the area of New Kowloon are collectively known as Kowloon....

 is believed to have been built during the Han Dynasty.


During the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 period, the Guangdong region flourished as a regional trading center. In 736, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang
Emperor Xuanzong of Tang
Emperor Xuanzong of Tang , also commonly known as Emperor Ming of Tang , personal name Li Longji , known as Wu Longji from 690 to 705, was the seventh emperor of the Tang dynasty in China, reigning from 712 to 756. His reign of 43 years was the longest during the Tang Dynasty...

 established a military town in Tuen Mun
Tuen Mun
Tuen Mun is a town near the mouth of Tuen Mun River and Castle Peak Bay in the New Territories, Hong Kong. It was one of the earliest settlements in Hong Kong which can be dated back to the Neolithic period. In the more recent past, it was home to many Tanka fishermen who gathered at the Castle...

 to defend the coastal area in the region. The first village school, Li Ying College
Li Ying College
Li-Ying College was one of the first schools established in Imperial Hong Kong. It was founded circa 1075 AD during the Song Dynasty. -History:...

, was established around 1075 in the New Territories
New Territories
New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong, alongside Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. It makes up 86.2% of Hong Kong's territory. Historically, it is the region described in The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory...

 under the Northern Song Dynasty. During the Mongol invasion in 1276, the Southern Song Dynasty court moved to Fujian
Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

, then to Lantau Island
Lantau Island
Lantau Island , based on the old local name of Lantau Peak , is the largest island in Hong Kong, located at the mouth of the Pearl River. Administratively, most of Lantau Island is part of the Islands District of Hong Kong...

 and later to Sung Wong Toi
Sung Wong Toi
Sung Wong Toi is an important historic relic in Kowloon, Hong Kong. While its remaining portion is currently located in the Sung Wong Toi Garden in Ma Tau Wai, it was originally a 45 m tall boulder standing on the top of Sacred Hill in Ma Tau Chung above Kowloon Bay.-Literally Meaning:The name...

 (modern Kowloon City
Kowloon City
Kowloon City is an area in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It is named after the Kowloon Walled City, and is administratively part of Kowloon City District....

), but the child Emperor Huaizong of Song committed suicide by drowning with his officials after being defeated in the Battle of Yamen
Battle of Yamen
The naval Battle of Yamen took place on 19 March 1279 and is considered to be the last stand of the Song Dynasty against the invading Mongol-controlled Yuan Dynasty...

. Hau Wong
Hau Wong
Hau Wong or Hou Wang is a title that can be translated as "Prince Marquis" or "Holy Marquis". It is not any one person's name. Hau Wong refers usually to Yeung Leung-jit , a loyal and courageous general...

, an official of the emperor is still worshipped in Hong Kong today.

The earliest recorded European visitor was Jorge Álvares
Jorge Álvares
Jorge Álvares is credited as the first Portuguese explorer to have reached China and Hong Kong. The Fundação Jorge Álvares , founded by Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira prior to the handover of Macau, got its name from him also having reached there.-Exploration:In May 1513 Álvares sailed under the...

, a Portuguese explorer who arrived in 1513. After establishing settlements in the region, Portuguese merchants began trading in southern China. At the same time, they invaded and built up military fortifications in Tuen Mun. Military clashes between China and Portugal led to the expulsion of the Portuguese. In the mid-16th century, the Haijin order banned maritime activities and prevented contact with foreigners; it also restricted local sea activity. In 1661–69, the territory was affected by the Great Clearance
Great Clearance
The Great Clearance or Great Evacuation was ordered in southern China by imperial edicts of the Qing Emperor Kangxi , then under the regency of Oboi, in 1661 and 1662. It required the evacuation of the coastal areas of Guangdong in order to fight the anti-Qing movement, begun by Ming Dynasty...

 ordered by Kangxi Emperor, which required the evacuation of the coastal areas of Guangdong. It is recorded that about 16,000 persons from Xin'an County
Xin'an County (Bao'an)
Bao'an County , formerly named Xin'an County is a historical region of South China. It is the predecessor of the modern city of Shenzhen and the territory of Hong Kong....

 were driven inland, and 1,648 of those who left are said to have returned when the evacuation was rescinded in 1669. What is now the territory of Hong Kong became largely wasteland during the ban. In 1685, Kangxi became the first emperor to open limited trading with foreigners, which started with the Canton
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 territory. He also imposed strict terms for trades such as requiring foreign traders to live in restricted areas, staying only for the trading seasons, banning firearms, and trading with silver only. The East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 made the first sea venture to China in 1699, and the region's trade with British merchants developed rapidly soon after. In 1711, the company established its first trading post in Canton. By 1773, the British reached a landmark 1,000 chests of opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 in Canton with China consuming 2,000 chests annually by 1799.

British colonial era


In 1839, the refusal by Qing Dynasty authorities to import opium resulted in the First Opium War
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

 between China and Britain. Hong Kong Island was occupied by British forces on 20 January 1841 and was initially ceded under the Convention of Chuenpee as part of a ceasefire agreement between Captain Charles Elliot
Charles Elliot
Sir Charles Elliot, KCB , was a British naval officer, diplomat, and colonial administrator. He became the first administrator of Hong Kong in 1841 while serving as both Plenipotentiary and Chief Superintendent of British Trade in China...

 and Governor Qishan, but the agreement was never ratified due to a dispute between high ranking officials in both governments. It was not until 29 August 1842 that the island was formally ceded in perpetuity to the United Kingdom under the Treaty of Nanking
Treaty of Nanking
The Treaty of Nanking was signed on 29 August 1842 to mark the end of the First Opium War between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Qing Dynasty of China...

. The British established a crown colony
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

 with the founding of Victoria City the following year.

In 1860, after China's defeat in the Second Opium War
Second Opium War
The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860...

, the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutter's Island were ceded in perpetuity to Britain under the Convention of Peking
Convention of Peking
The Convention of Peking or the First Convention of Peking is the name used for three different unequal treaties, which were concluded between Qing China and the United Kingdom, France, and Russia.-Background:...

.

In 1894, the deadly Third Pandemic of bubonic plague spread from China to Hong Kong, causing 50,000–100,000 deaths.

In 1898, under the terms of the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory
Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory
The Convention Between Great Britain and China Respecting an Extension of Hong Kong Territory or the Second Convention of Peking was a lease signed between Qing Dynasty and the United Kingdom in 1898.-Background:...

, Britain obtained a 99-year lease of Lantau Island and the adjacent northern lands, which became known as the New Territories. Hong Kong's territory has remained unchanged to the present.

During the first half of the 20th century, Hong Kong was a free port
Free port
A free port or free zone , sometimes also called a bonded area is a port, port area or other area with relaxed jurisdiction with respect to the country of location...

, serving as an entrepôt
Entrepôt
An entrepôt is a trading post where merchandise can be imported and exported without paying import duties, often at a profit. This profit is possible because of trade conditions, for example, the reluctance of ships to travel the entire length of a long trading route, and selling to the entrepôt...

 of the British Empire. The British introduced an education system based on their own model, while the local Chinese population had little contact with the European community of wealthy tai-pan
Tai-Pan
The term tai-pan was originally used to describe a foreign businessman in China or Hong Kong in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Cantonese colloquialism is now used in a more general sense for business executives of any origin...

s
settled near Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak is a mountain in Hong Kong. It is also known as Mount Austin, and locally as The Peak. The mountain is located in the western half of Hong Kong Island...

.

Japanese invasion


In conjunction with its military campaign
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

, the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 invaded Hong Kong on 8 December 1941. The Battle of Hong Kong
Battle of Hong Kong
The Battle of Hong Kong took place during the Pacific campaign of World War II. It began on 8 December 1941 and ended on 25 December 1941 with Hong Kong, then a Crown colony, surrendering to the Empire of Japan.-Background:...

 ended with British and Canadian defenders surrendering control of the colony to Japan on 25 December. During the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong
Japanese occupation of Hong Kong
The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong began after the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Young, surrendered the territory of Hong Kong to Japan on 25 December 1941 after 18 days of fierce fighting by British and Canadian defenders against overwhelming Japanese Imperial forces. The occupation lasted...

, civilians suffered widespread food shortages, rationing, and hyper-inflation due to forced exchange of currency for military notes. Through a policy of enforced repatriation of the unemployed to the mainland throughout the period, because of the scarcity of food, the population of Hong Kong had dwindled from 1.6 million in 1941 to 600,000 in 1945, when the United Kingdom resumed control of the colony.

Cold war era


Hong Kong's population recovered quickly as a wave of migrants from China arrived for refuge from the ongoing Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

. When the PRC was proclaimed in 1949, more migrants fled to Hong Kong for fear of persecution by the Communist Party
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

. Many corporations in Shanghai and Guangzhou shifted their operations to Hong Kong.

In the 1950s, Hong Kong's rapid industrialisation was driven by textile exports and other expanded manufacturing industries. As the population grew and labour costs remained low, living standards rose steadily. The construction of Shek Kip Mei Estate
Shek Kip Mei Estate
Shek Kip Mei Estate is the first public housing estate in Hong Kong. It is located in Sham Shui Po and is under the management of the Hong Kong Housing Authority...

 in 1953 followed a massive slum fire, and marked the beginning of the public housing estate
Public housing in Hong Kong
Public housing in Hong Kong is a set of mass housing programmes through which the Government of Hong Kong provides affordable housing for lower-income residents. It is a major component of housing in Hong Kong, with nearly half of the population now residing in some form of public housing...

 programme designed to cope with the huge influx of immigrants. Trade in Hong Kong accelerated even further when Shenzhen
Shenzhen
Shenzhen is a major city in the south of Southern China's Guangdong Province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong. The area became China's first—and one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones...

, immediately north of Hong Kong, became a special economic zone
Special Economic Zone
A Special Economic Zone is a geographical region that has economic and other laws that are more free-market-oriented than a country's typical or national laws...

 of the PRC, and Hong Kong was established as the main source of foreign investment in China. The manufacturing competitiveness gradually declined in Hong Kong due to the development of the manufacturing industry in southern China beginning in the early 1980s. By contrast, the service industry in Hong Kong experienced high rates of growth in the 1980s and 1990s after absorbing workers released from the manufacturing industry.
In 1983, when the United Kingdom reclassified Hong Kong from a British crown colony to a dependent territory
British overseas territories
The British Overseas Territories are fourteen territories of the United Kingdom which, although they do not form part of the United Kingdom itself, fall under its jurisdiction. They are remnants of the British Empire that have not acquired independence or have voted to remain British territories...

, the governments of the United Kingdom and China were already discussing the issue of Hong Kong's sovereignty due to the impending expiry (within two decades) of the lease of the New Territories. In 1984, the Sino-British Joint Declaration
Sino-British Joint Declaration
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, formally known as the Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong, was signed by the Prime Ministers, Zhao Ziyang and Margaret...

 – an agreement to transfer sovereignty to the People's Republic of China in 1997 – was signed. It stipulated that Hong Kong would be governed as a special administrative region, retaining its laws and a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years after the transfer. The Hong Kong Basic Law
Hong Kong Basic Law
The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, or simply Hong Kong Basic Law, serves as the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China...

, which would serve as the constitutional document after the transfer, was ratified in 1990.

Since 1997


On 1 July 1997, the transfer of sovereignty from United Kingdom to the PRC occurred, officially ending 156 years of British colonial rule. Hong Kong became China's first special administrative region, and Tung Chee Hwa
Tung Chee Hwa
Tung Chee Hwa, GBM was the first Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China....

 took office as the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong
Chief Executive of Hong Kong
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is the President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong and head of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The position was created to replace the Governor of Hong Kong, who was the head of the Hong Kong government during British rule...

. That same year, Hong Kong suffered an economic double blow from the Asian financial crisis and the H5N1 avian influenza. In 2003, Hong Kong was gravely affected by the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is a respiratory disease in humans which is caused by the SARS coronavirus . Between November 2002 and July 2003 an outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong nearly became a pandemic, with 8,422 cases and 916 deaths worldwide according to the WHO...

. The World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 reported 1,755 infected and 299 deaths in Hong Kong. An estimated 380 million Hong Kong dollars (US$48.9 million) in contracts were lost as a result of the epidemic.

On 10 March 2005, Tung Chee Hwa announced his resignation as Chief Executive due to "health problems". Donald Tsang
Donald Tsang
Sir Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, GBM, KBE is the current Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of the Government of Hong Kong....

, the Chief Secretary for Administration
Chief Secretary for Administration
The Chief Secretary for Administration , commonly known as Chief Secretary and abbreviated as CS, is the second highest position of the Hong Kong Government...

 at the time, entered the 2005 election
Hong Kong Chief Executive election, 2005
The Hong Kong Chief Executive election of 2005 was held to fill the vacancy of the territory's top office. Tung Chee Hwa submitted a resignation document to the Chinese government, and it was officially approved on 12 March. On 24 June, Donald Tsang was sworn in as the new Chief Executive on 16 June...

 unopposed and became the second Chief Executive of Hong Kong on 21 June 2005. In 2007, Tsang won the Chief Executive election
Hong Kong Chief Executive election, 2007
An election was held on 25 March 2007 to select the Chief Executive of Hong Kong at AsiaWorld-Expo. The third Chief Executive term began on 1 July 2007...

 and continued his second term in office.

In 2009, Hong Kong hosted the fifth East Asian Games
2009 East Asian Games
The 2009 East Asian Games, officially known as the V East Asian Games, was an international multi-sport event that took place in Hong Kong, between 5 December and 13 December 2009. A total of 2,377 athletes from 9 East Asian national competed in 262 events in 22 sports...

, in which nine national teams competed. It was the first and largest international multi-sport event ever held in the territory. Today, Hong Kong continues to serve as an important global financial centre, but faces uncertainty over its future due to the growing mainland China economy
Economy of the People's Republic of China
The People's Republic of China ranks since 2010 as the world's second largest economy after the United States. It has been the world's fastest-growing major economy, with consistent growth rates of around 10% over the past 30 years. China is also the largest exporter and second largest importer of...

, and its relationship with the PRC government in areas such as democratic reform and universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

.

Governance



In accordance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and the underlying principle of one country, two systems
One country, two systems
"One country, two systems" is an idea originally proposed by Deng Xiaoping, then Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China , for the reunification of China during the early 1980s...

, Hong Kong has a "high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region in all areas except defence and foreign affairs." The declaration stipulates that the region maintain its capitalist economic system and guarantees the rights and freedoms of its people for at least 50 years beyond the 1997 handover. The guarantees over the territory's autonomy and the individual rights and freedoms are enshrined in a constitution, the Hong Kong Basic Law
Hong Kong Basic Law
The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, or simply Hong Kong Basic Law, serves as the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China...

, which outlines the system of governance of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, but which is subject to the interpretation of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress is a committee of about 150 members of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China , which is convened between plenary sessions of the NPC. It has the constitutional authority to modify legislation within limits set by...

 (NPCSC).

The primary pillars of government
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

 are the Executive Council
Executive Council of Hong Kong
The Executive Council of Hong Kong is a core policy-making organ in the executive branch of the government of Hong Kong.. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong serves as its President.The Executive Council normally meets once a week...

, the civil service
Hong Kong Civil Service
The Hong Kong Civil Service is managed by 12 policy bureaux in the Government Secretariat, and 67 departments and agencies, mostly staffed by civil servants. The Secretary for the Civil Service is one of the Principal Officials appointed under the Accountability System and a Member of the...

, the Legislative Council
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
The Legislative Council is the unicameral legislature of Hong Kong.-History:The Legislative Council of Hong Kong was set up in 1843 as a colonial legislature under British rule...

, and the Judiciary
Judiciary of Hong Kong
The Judiciary of Hong Kong is responsible for the administration of justice in Hong Kong. It hears all prosecutions and civil disputes, including disputes between individuals and the government. It is fundamental to Hong Kong’s legal system that members of the judiciary are independent of the...

. The Executive Council is headed by the Chief Executive
Chief Executive of Hong Kong
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is the President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong and head of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The position was created to replace the Governor of Hong Kong, who was the head of the Hong Kong government during British rule...

 who is elected by the Election Committee
Election Committee
The Election Committee is an 800-member electoral college in the politics of Hong Kong. It was established by Annex I of the Basic Law of Hong Kong. This article defines the method of electing the Chief Executive. It is renewed every five years when the sitting Chief Executive's term has expired...

 and then appointed by the Central People's Government
Central People's Government
The Central People's Government is the central government of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. According to the 1982 Constitution, "Central People's Government" is synonymous with the State Council.-History:...

. The civil service is a politically neutral body that implements policies and provides government services, where public servants are appointed based on meritocracy. The Legislative Council has 60 members, half of which are directly elected by universal suffrage by permanent residents of Hong Kong according to five geographical constituencies. The other half, known as functional constituencies, are directly elected by a smaller electorate, which consists of corporate bodies and persons from various stipulated functional sectors. The entire council is headed by the President of the Legislative Council
President of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong
The President of the Legislative Council is the speaker of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong. In the absence of the President, the chairman of the House Committee serves as deputy to the President....

 who serves as the speaker
Speaker (politics)
The term speaker is a title often given to the presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body. The speaker's official role is to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, and the like. The speaker decides who may speak and has the...

. Judges are appointed by the Chief Executive on the recommendation of an independent commission.
The implementation of the Basic Law, including how and when the universal suffrage promised therein is to be achieved, has been a major issue of political debate since the transfer of sovereignty. In 2002, the government's proposed anti-subversion bill pursuant to Article 23 of the Basic Law, which required the enactment of laws prohibiting acts of treason and subversion against the Chinese government, was met with fierce opposition, and eventually shelved. Debate between pro-Beijing groups, which tend to support the Executive branch, and the Pan-democracy camp characterises Hong Kong's political scene, with the latter supporting a faster pace of democratisation
Democratic development in Hong Kong
Democratic development in Hong Kong has been a major topic since the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997. The One country, two systems principle allows the Hong Kong government to administer all areas of government except foreign relations and defense separately from the national Chinese...

, and the principle of one man, one vote.

In 2004, the government failed to gain pan-democrat support to pass its so-called "district council model" for political reform. In 2009, the government reissued the proposals as the "Consultation Document on the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive and for Forming the LegCo in 2012". The document proposed the enlargement of the Election Committee, Hong Kong's electoral college, from 800 members to 1,200 in 2012 and expansion of the legislature from 60 to 70 seats. The 10 new legislative seats would consist of five geographical constituency seats and five functional constituency seats, to be voted in by elected district council members from among themselves. The proposals were destined for rejection by pan-democrats once again, but a significant breakthrough occurred after the Central People's Government accepted a counter-proposal by the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (Hong Kong)
The Democratic Party is a pro-democracy political party in Hong Kong. It was established on 2 October 1994. The party is currently the second largest party in the Legislative Council, headed by Chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan and, following the November 2008 merger with the Frontier, had around 745...

. In particular, the Pan-democracy camp was split when the proposal to directly elect five newly created functional seats was not acceptable to two constituent parties. The Democratic Party sided with the government for the first time since the handover and passed the proposals with a vote of 46–12.

Legal system and judiciary



Hong Kong's legal system is completely independent from the legal system of Mainland China
Law of the People's Republic of China
Law of the People's Republic of China is the legal regime of the People's Republic of China, with the separate legal traditions and systems of Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau....

. In contrast to mainland China's civil law
Civil law (legal system)
Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

 system, Hong Kong continues to follow the English Common Law tradition established under British rule. Hong Kong's courts may refer to decisions rendered by courts of other common law jurisdictions as precedents, and judges from other common law jurisdictions are allowed to sit as non-permanent judges of the Court of Final Appeal.

Structurally, the court system consists of the Court of Final Appeal, the High Court
High Court (Hong Kong)
The High Court in Hong Kong consists of the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance. It deals with criminal and civil cases which have risen beyond the lower courts. It was named the Supreme Court before 1997.- High Court Building :...

, which is made up of the Court of Appeal
Court of Appeal (Hong Kong)
The Court of Appeal deals with appeals on all civil and criminal cases from the Court of First Instance and the District Courts of Hong Kong. It is one of two courts that makes up the High Court of Hong Kong....

 and the Court of First Instance
Court of First Instance (Hong Kong)
The Court of First Instance is one of two courts in the High Court of Hong Kong. The court has unlimited jurisdiction in both civil and criminal matters...

, and the District Court
District Court (Hong Kong)
The District Court is the lower court system in Hong Kong, having both criminal and civil jurisdictions. It is located in the Wanchai Law Courts, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road...

, which includes the Family Court
Family Court (Hong Kong)
The Family Court of Hong Kong is a court The Family Court of Hong Kong is a court The Family Court of Hong Kong is a court (part of the District Court, which mainly deals with cases relating to divorces and welfare maintenance for children.-Divorce law:...

. Other adjudicative bodies include the Lands Tribunal
Lands Tribunal (Hong Kong)
The Lands Tribunal is a tribunal in Hong Kong that deals with legal disputes over land. It was established by the Lands Tribunal Ordinance .- Judges :...

, the Magistrates' Courts
Magistrates' Court (Hong Kong)
Magistrates' courts in Hong Kong are presided over by 'Permanent' and 'Special' Magistrates. Permanent Magistrates are professionally qualified. They come from barristers or solicitors...

, the Juvenile Court, the Coroner's Court, the Labour Tribunal, the Small Claims Tribunal, and the Obscene Articles Tribunal. Justices of the Court of Final Appeal are appointed by Hong Kong's Chief Executive.

The Department of Justice
Department of Justice (Hong Kong)
The Department of Justice is the department responsible for the laws of Hong Kong headed by the Secretary for Justice. Before 1997, the names of the department and the position was the Legal Department and Attorney General respectively....

 is responsible for handling legal matters for the government. Its responsibilities include providing legal advice, criminal prosecution, civil representation, legal and policy drafting and reform, and international legal cooperation between different jurisdictions. Apart from prosecuting criminal cases, lawyers of the Department of Justice act on behalf of the government in all civil and administrative lawsuits against the government. As protector of the public interest
Public interest
The public interest refers to the "common well-being" or "general welfare." The public interest is central to policy debates, politics, democracy and the nature of government itself...

, the department may apply for judicial review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

s and may intervene in any cases involving the greater public interest. The Basic Law protects the Department of Justice from any interference by the government when exercising its control over criminal prosecution.

Human rights


In general, Hong Kong is perceived to enjoy a high level of civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

. The Hong Kong government generally respect the human rights of the citizens, although core issues remain. There are concerns over the freedom of assembly
Freedom of assembly
Freedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests...

 which is restricted by the Public Order Ordinance. The police has been occasionally accused of using heavy-handed tactics towards protestors and questions are asked towards the extensive powers of the police. As to the right of privacy, covert surveillance remains the major concern. There is a lack of protection for homosexuals due to the absence of a sexual orientation discrimination law. There are also comments regarding a lack of protection for labour rights.

Internet access in Hong Kong is not under the censorship, surveillance, and control of the Great Firewall of China.

Administrative districts


Hong Kong has a unitary
Unitary authority
A unitary authority is a type of local authority that has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area or performs additional functions which elsewhere in the relevant country are usually performed by national government or a higher level of sub-national...

 system of government; no local government has existed since the two municipal councils were abolished in 2000. As such there is no formal definition for its cities and towns. Administratively, Hong Kong is subdivided into 18 geographic districts, each represented by a district council
District Council of Hong Kong
The District Councils, formerly District Boards until 1999, are the local councils for the 18 Districts of Hong Kong. Under the supervision of Home Affairs Bureau of the Hong Kong Government, they are consultative bodies on district administration and affairs.- History :In 1982, under the...

 which advises the government on local matters such as public facilities, community programmes, cultural activities, and environmental improvements.

There are a total of 534 district council seats, 405 of which are elected; the rest are appointed by the Chief Executive and 27 ex officio chairmen of rural committees. The Home Affairs Department
Home Affairs Department
The Home Affairs Department is a executive agency in the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China responsible for interior affairs in the region...

 communicates government policies and plans to the public through the district offices.

Military


When Hong Kong was a British colony and later, a dependent territory, defence was provided by the British military
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

 under the command of the Governor of Hong Kong
Governor of Hong Kong
The Governor of Hong Kong was the head of the government of Hong Kong during British rule from 1843 to 1997. The governor's roles were defined in the Hong Kong Letters Patent and Royal Instructions...

 who was ex officio Commander-in-chief. When the PRC assumed sovereignty in 1997, the British barracks were replaced by a garrison of the People's Liberation Army, comprising ground, naval, and air forces, and under the command of the Chinese Central Military Commission.

The Basic Law protects local civil affairs against interference by the garrison, and members of the garrison are subject to Hong Kong laws. The Hong Kong Government remains responsible for the maintenance of public order; however, it may ask the PRC government for help from the garrison in maintaining public order and in disaster relief. The PRC government is responsible for the costs of maintaining the garrison.

Geography and climate



Hong Kong is located on China's south coast, 60 km (37.3 mi) east of Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

 on the opposite side of the Pearl River Delta
Pearl River Delta
The Pearl River Delta , Zhujiang Delta or Zhusanjiao in Guangdong province, People's Republic of China is the low-lying area surrounding the Pearl River estuary where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea...

. It is surrounded by the South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...

 on the east, south, and west, and borders the Guangdong city of Shenzhen to the north over the Shenzhen River. The territory's 1104 km² (426.3 sq mi) area consists of Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island is an island in the southern part of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It has a population of 1,289,500 and its population density is 16,390/km², as of 2008...

, the Kowloon Peninsula
Kowloon Peninsula
The Kowloon Peninsula is a peninsula that forms the southern part of the main landmass in the territory of Hong Kong. The Kowloon Peninsula and the area of New Kowloon are collectively known as Kowloon....

, the New Territories
New Territories
New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong, alongside Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. It makes up 86.2% of Hong Kong's territory. Historically, it is the region described in The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory...

, and over 200 offshore islands, of which the largest is Lantau Island
Lantau Island
Lantau Island , based on the old local name of Lantau Peak , is the largest island in Hong Kong, located at the mouth of the Pearl River. Administratively, most of Lantau Island is part of the Islands District of Hong Kong...

. Of the total area, 1054 km² (407 sq mi) is land and 50 km² (19.3 sq mi) is inland water. Hong Kong claims territorial waters to a distance of 3 nautical miles (5.6 km). Its land area makes Hong Kong the 179th largest inhabited territory in the world.

As much of Hong Kong's terrain is hilly to mountainous with steep slopes, less than 25% of the territory's landmass is developed, and about 40% of the remaining land area is reserved as country parks
Country parks and conservation in Hong Kong
Although Hong Kong is regarded as one of the world's great cities, out of the total 1,092 km² of land, about three-quarters is countryside. Scenically, Hong Kong has a great deal to offer - a landscape rising from sandy beaches and rocky foreshores to heights of almost 1,000 metres, woodlands...

 and nature reserves. Most of the territory's urban development exists on Kowloon peninsula, along the northern edge of Hong Kong Island, and in scattered settlements throughout the New Territories. The highest elevation in the territory is at Tai Mo Shan
Tai Mo Shan
Tai Mo Shan has the highest peak in Hong Kong, with an altitude of 957 m. It is located approximately at the geographical centre of the New Territories....

, 957 metres (3,139.8 ft) above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

. Hong Kong's long and irregular coast provides it with many bays, rivers and beaches
Beaches of Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a long coastline that is full of twists and turns with many bays and beaches. Many of them are well sheltered by mountains nearby, as Hong Kong is a mountainous place...

.

Despite Hong Kong's reputation of being intensely urbanised, the territory has tried to promote a green environment, and recent growing public concern has prompted the severe restriction of further land reclamation
Land reclamation in Hong Kong
Land is in short supply in Hong Kong, and land reclamation has been conducted there since the mid-19th century.-Projects:One of the earliest and famous project was the Praya Reclamation Scheme, which added 50 to of land in 1890 during the second phase of construction...

 from Victoria Harbour. Awareness of the environment is growing as Hong Kong suffers from increasing pollution compounded by its geography and tall buildings. Approximately 80% of the city's smog
Air pollution in Hong Kong
Air pollution in Hong Kong is considered a serious problem. Visibility is currently less than eight kilometres for 30% of the year. Cases of asthma and bronchial infections have soared in recent years due to reduced air quality....

 originates from other parts of the Pearl River Delta.

Though it is situated just south of the Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Cancer
The Tropic of Cancer, also referred to as the Northern tropic, is the circle of latitude on the Earth that marks the most northerly position at which the Sun may appear directly overhead at its zenith...

, Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate
Humid subtropical climate
A humid subtropical climate is a climate zone characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters...

 (Köppen
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 Cwa). Summer is hot and humid with occasional showers and thunderstorms, and warm air coming from the southwest. Summer is when typhoons are most likely, sometimes resulting in flooding or landslides. Winters are mild and usually start sunny, becoming cloudier towards February; the occasional cold front brings strong, cooling winds from the north. The most temperate seasons are spring, which can be changeable, and autumn, which is generally sunny and dry. Hong Kong averages 1,948 hours of sunshine per year, while the highest and lowest ever recorded temperatures at the Hong Kong Observatory
Hong Kong Observatory
Hong Kong Observatory is a department of the Hong Kong government. The Observatory forecasts weather and issues warnings on weather-related hazards...

 are 36.1 °C (97 °F) and 0 °C (32 °F), respectively.

Economy



As one of the world's leading international financial centres, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterised by low taxation and free trade. The currency, Hong Kong dollar
Hong Kong dollar
The Hong Kong dollar is the currency of the jurisdiction. It is the eighth most traded currency in the world. In English, it is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively HK$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

, is the eighth most traded currency in the world as of 2010. Hong Kong was once described by Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

 as the world’s greatest experiment in laissez-faire
Laissez-faire
In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies....

 capitalism. It maintains a highly developed capitalist economy, ranked the freest in the world by the Index of Economic Freedom
Index of Economic Freedom
The Index of Economic Freedom is a series of 10 economic measurements created by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. Its stated objective is to measure the degree of economic freedom in the world's nations....

 for 15 consecutive years. It is an important centre for international finance and trade, with one of the greatest concentrations of corporate headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region, and is known as one of the Four Asian Tigers for its high growth rates and rapid development from the 1960s to the 1990s. Between 1961 and 1997 Hong Kong's gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 grew 180 times while per-capita GDP increased 87 times over.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange
Hong Kong Stock Exchange
The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located in Hong Kong. It is Asia's third largest stock exchange in terms of market capitalization behind the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange and fifth largest in the world...

 is the seventh largest in the world, with a market capitalisation of US$2.3 trillion as of December 2009. In that year, Hong Kong raised 22 percent of worldwide initial public offering
Initial public offering
An initial public offering or stock market launch, is the first sale of stock by a private company to the public. It can be used by either small or large companies to raise expansion capital and become publicly traded enterprises...

 (IPO) capital, making it the largest centre of IPOs in the world and the easiest place to raise capital. Hong Kong's currency is the Hong Kong dollar
Hong Kong dollar
The Hong Kong dollar is the currency of the jurisdiction. It is the eighth most traded currency in the world. In English, it is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively HK$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

, which has been pegged
Currency board
A currency board is a monetary authority which is required to maintain a fixed exchange rate with a foreign currency. This policy objective requires the conventional objectives of a central bank to be subordinated to the exchange rate target....

 to the U.S. dollar since 1983.

The Hong Kong Government has traditionally played a mostly passive role in the economy, with little by way of industrial policy
Industrial policy
The Industrial Policy plan of a nation, sometimes shortened IP, "denotes a nation's declared, official, total strategic effort to influence sectoral development and, thus, national industry portfolio." These interventionist measures comprise "policies that stimulate specific activities and promote...

 and almost no import or export controls
Trade restriction
A trade restriction is an artificial restriction on the trade of goods between two countries. It is the result of protectionism. However, the term is not uncontroversial since what one part may see as a trade restriction another may see as a way to protect consumers from inferior, harmful or...

. Market forces and the private sector were allowed to determine practical development. Under the official policy of "positive non-interventionism
Positive non-interventionism
Positive non-interventionism was the economic policy of Hong Kong; this policy can be traced back to the time when Hong Kong was under British rule...

", Hong Kong is often cited as an example of laissez-faire capitalism. Following the Second World War, Hong Kong industrialised rapidly as a manufacturing centre driven by exports, and then underwent a rapid transition to a service-based economy in the 1980s. Since then, it has grown to become a leading center for management, financial, IT, business consultation and professional services.

Hong Kong matured to become a financial centre in the 1990s, but was greatly affected by the Asian financial crisis in 1998, and again in 2003 by the SARS outbreak. A revival of external and domestic demand has led to a strong recovery, as cost decreases strengthened the competitiveness of Hong Kong exports and a long deflationary period ended. Government intervention, initiated by the later colonial governments and continued since 1997, has steadily increased, with the introduction of export credit guarantees, a compulsory pension scheme
Mandatory provident fund
The Mandatory Provident Fund , often abbreviated as MPF , is a compulsory saving scheme for the retirement of residents in Hong Kong...

, a minimum wage, anti-discrimination law
Anti-discrimination law
Anti-discrimination law refers to the law on people's right to be treated equally. Some countries mandate that in employment, in consumer transactions and in political participation people may be dealt with on an equal basis regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality and sometimes...

s, and a state mortgage backer.

The territory has little arable land and few natural resources, so it imports most of its food and raw materials. Agricultural activity -- relatively unimportant to Hong Kong’s economy and contributing just 0.1% of its GDP -- primarily consists of growing premium food and flower varieties. Hong Kong is the world's eleventh largest trading entity, with the total value of imports and exports exceeding its gross domestic product. It is the world's largest re-export centre. Much of Hong Kong's exports consist of re-exports, which are products made outside of the territory, especially in mainland China, and distributed via Hong Kong. Its physical location has allowed the city to establish a transportation and logistics infrastructure that includes the world’s second busiest container port and the world’s busiest airport for international cargo. Even before the transfer of sovereignty, Hong Kong had established extensive trade and investment ties with the mainland, which now enable it to serve as a point of entry for investment flowing into the mainland. At the end of 2007, there were 3.46 million people employed full-time, with the unemployment rate averaging 4.1% for the fourth straight year of decline. Hong Kong's economy is dominated by the service sector, which accounts for over 90% of its GDP, while industry constitutes 9%. Inflation was at 2.5% in 2007. Hong Kong's largest export markets are mainland China, the United States, and Japan.

As of 2010, Hong Kong is the eighth most expensive city for expatriates, falling from fifth position in the previous year. In 2011, Hong Kong was ranked second in the Ease of Doing Business Index
Ease of Doing Business Index
The Ease of Doing Business Index is an index created by the World Bank. Higher rankings indicate better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights...

, behind Singapore. General principle No. 5 of the Basic Law of the SAR suggests that the CPC
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 expects that it shall have brought the economic system
Economic system
An economic system is the combination of the various agencies, entities that provide the economic structure that defines the social community. These agencies are joined by lines of trade and exchange along which goods, money etc. are continuously flowing. An example of such a system for a closed...

 of the Mainland
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 and Hong Kong
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 into harmony
Harmonious society
The construction of a Harmonious Society is a socio-economic vision that is said to be the ultimate end result of Chinese leader Hu Jintao's signature ideology of the Scientific Development Concept. It serves as the ultimate goal for the ruling Communist Party of China along with Xiaokang society,...

 by 2047, by which time the Chinese economy is predicted to have been the largest by any measure of GDP for decades.

Demographics



The territory's population is 7.03 million. In 2009, Hong Kong had a birth rate of 11.7 per 1,000 population and a fertility rate of 1,032 children per 1,000 women. Residents from mainland China do not have the right of abode in Hong Kong, nor are they allowed to enter the territory freely. However, the influx of immigrants from mainland China, approximating 45,000 per year, is a significant contributor to its population growth – a daily quota of 150 Mainland Chinese with family ties in Hong Kong are granted a "one way permit". Life expectancy in Hong Kong is 79.16 years for males and 84.79 years for females as of 2009, making it one of the highest life expectancies in the world.

About 95% of the people of Hong Kong are of Chinese descent, the majority of whom are Taishanese
Taishanese people in Hong Kong
Sze Yap Cantonese represents the second largest Han group in Hong Kong after the group of people originating from the Guangzhou-Sam Yap region...

, Chiu Chow
Teochew people
The Chaozhou people are Han people, native to the Chaoshan region of eastern Guangdong province of China who speak the Teochew dialect. Today, most Teochew people live outside China in Southeast Asia especially in Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. They can also be found almost anywhere in the...

, other Cantonese people
Cantonese people
The Cantonese people are Han people whose ancestral homes are in Guangdong, China. The term "Cantonese people" would then be synonymous with the Bun Dei sub-ethnic group, and is sometimes known as Gwong Fu Jan for this narrower definition...

, and Hakka
Hakka people
The Hakka , sometimes Hakka Han, are Han Chinese who speak the Hakka language and have links to the provincial areas of Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan and Fujian in China....

. Hong Kong's Han majority originate mainly from the Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 and Taishan
Taishan
Taishan is a coastal county-level city in Guangdong Province, China. The city is part of the Greater Taishan Region....

 regions in Guangdong province. The remaining 5% of the population is composed of non-ethnic Chinese. There is a South Asian
South Asians in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a long-established South Asian population. As of the 2006 by-census, there were at least 44,744 persons of South Asian descent in Hong Kong. Many trace their roots in Hong Kong as far back as when most of the Indian subcontinent was still under British colonial rule, and as a legacy...

 population of Indians, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

is and Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

ese; some Vietnamese refugees have become permanent residents of Hong Kong. There are also Europeans (mostly British
Britons in Hong Kong
Britons never made up more than a small portion of the population in Hong Kong, despite the fact that Hong Kong was under British rule for more than 150 years. However, they did leave their mark on institutions, culture and Architecture of Hong Kong...

), Americans
Americans in Hong Kong
There were estimated to be 60,000 Americans in Hong Kong . They consist of both native-born Americans of various ethnic backgrounds, including Chinese Americans, as well as former Hong Kong emigrants to the United States who returned after gaining American citizenship. Most Americans in Hong Kong...

, Canadians
Canadians in Hong Kong
Like their American counterparts, a significant number of people with Canadian citizenship live and work in Hong Kong. Many are former Hong Kong residents that left prior to the 1997 handover and later returned when they had a Canadian passport and had some of the fears allayed. Some are...

, Japanese, and Koreans
Koreans in Hong Kong
Koreans in Hong Kong formed a population of 4,812 individuals as of 2006, making them one of Hong Kong's smaller minority groups.-Migration history:...

 working in the city's commercial and financial sector. In 2008, there were an estimate of 252,500 foreign domestic helpers
Foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong
Foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong are foreign domestic workers and housemaids employed by Hongkongers, typically families. They make up approximately 3% of the population of Hong Kong and an overwhelming majority of them are women...

 from Indonesia and the Philippines working in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's de facto official language is Cantonese
Standard Cantonese
Cantonese, or Standard Cantonese, is a language that originated in the vicinity of Canton in southern China, and is often regarded as the prestige dialect of Yue Chinese....

, a Chinese language originating from Guangdong province to the north of Hong Kong. English is also an official language, and according to a 1996 by-census is spoken by 3.1 percent of the population as an everyday language and by 34.9 percent of the population as a second language. Signs displaying both Chinese and English are common throughout the territory. Since the 1997 handover, an increase in immigrants from mainland China and greater integration with the mainland economy have brought an increasing number of Mandarin
Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese, or Modern Standard Chinese, also known as Mandarin or Putonghua, is the official language of the People's Republic of China and Republic of China , and is one of the four official languages of Singapore....

 speakers to Hong Kong.
The majority of residents of Hong Kong would claim no religious affiliation, professing a form of agnosticism or atheism. According to the U.S Department of State only 43 percent of the population practices some form of religion. Some figures put it higher, according to a Gallup poll, 64% of Hong Kong do not believe in any religion, and possibly 80% of Hong Kong claim no religion. According to another gallup poll, Hong Kong is the seventh country which considers religion as an important part of their daily lives, with only 22%. In Hong Kong teaching evolution won out in curriculum dispute about whether to teach other explanations, and that creationism and intelligent design will form no part of the senior secondary biology curriculum
Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of religious freedom, guaranteed by the Basic Law. Hong Kong's main religions are Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism
Religion in Hong Kong
Religion in Hong Kong is part of the culture of Hong Kong. Religious freedom is one of the fundamental rights enjoyed by Hong Kong residents. It is protected by the Basic Law and relevant legislation. There is a large variety of religious groups in Hong Kong, including Buddhism, Taoism,...

, a local religious scholar in contact with major denominations estimates there are approximately 1.5 million Buddhists and Taoists. A Christian community of around 600,000 forms about 8% of the total population; it is nearly equally divided between Catholics and Protestants, although smaller Christian communities exist, including the Latter-Day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

. The Anglican
Sheng Kung Hui
The Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui , also known as the Hong Kong Anglican Church , is the Anglican Church in Hong Kong and Macau. It is the 38th Province of the Anglican Communion...

 and Roman Catholic churches each freely appoint their own bishops, unlike in mainland China. There are also Sikh
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

, Muslim
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Jewish, Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Bahá'í
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 communities. The practice of Falun Gong
Falun Gong
Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline first introduced in China in 1992 by its founder, Li Hongzhi, through public lectures. It combines the practice of meditation and slow-moving qigong exercises with the moral philosophy...

 is tolerated.

Statistically Hong Kong's income gap is the greatest in Asia Pacific. According to a report by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme in 2008, Hong Kong's Gini coefficient
Gini coefficient
The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini and published in his 1912 paper "Variability and Mutability" ....

, at 0.53, was the highest in Asia and "relatively high by international standards". However, the government has stressed that income disparity does not equate to worsening of the poverty situation, and that the Gini coefficient is not strictly comparable between regions. The government has named economic restructuring, changes in household sizes, and the increase of high-income jobs as factors that have skewed the Gini coefficient.

Education



Hong Kong's education system used to roughly follow the system in England
Education in England
Education in England is overseen by the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Local authorities take responsibility for implementing policy for public education and state schools at a regional level....

, although international systems exist. The government maintains a policy of "mother tongue instruction" in which the medium of instruction
Medium of instruction
Medium of instruction is a language used in teaching. It may or may not be the official language of the country or territory. Where the first language of students is different from the official language, it may be used as the medium of instruction for part or all of schooling. Bilingual or...

 is Cantonese, with written Chinese and English. In secondary schools, 'biliterate and trilingual' proficiency is emphasised, and Mandarin-language education has been increasing. The Programme for International Student Assessment
Programme for International Student Assessment
The Programme for International Student Assessment is a worldwide evaluation in OECD member countries of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance, performed first in 2000 and repeated every three years...

 ranked Hong Kong's education system as the second best in the world.
Hong Kong's public schools are operated by the Education Bureau. The system features a non-compulsory three-year kindergarten, followed by a compulsory six-year primary education, a three-year junior secondary education, a non-compulsory two-year senior secondary education leading to the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination
Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination
The Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination was a standardized examination between 1974 and 2011 after most local students’ five-year secondary education, conducted by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority . The examination will be discontinued in 2012...

s and a two-year matriculation course leading to the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination
Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination
The Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination , or more commonly known as the A-level, conducted by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority , is normally taken by senior students at the end of their matriculation in Hong Kong. In 2010, 39,772 candidates entered for the examination...

s. The New Senior Secondary academic structure and curriculum was implemented in September 2009, which provides for all students to receive three years of compulsory junior and three years of compulsory senior secondary education. Under the new curriculum, there is only public examination, namely the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education
Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education
The Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education will be the only public exam in the new 3-3-4 education system to be introduced in Hong Kong secondary schools; it will be a replacement of the existing Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination and Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination and be the...

.

Most comprehensive schools in Hong Kong fall under three categories: the rarer public schools; the more common subsidised schools, including government aids-and-grant schools; and private schools, often run by Christian organisations and having admissions based on academic merit rather than on financial resources. Outside this system are the schools under the Direct Subsidy Scheme
Direct Subsidy Scheme
The Direct Subsidy Scheme is instituted by the Education Bureau of Hong Kong as a means to enhance the quality of private schools in Hong Kong at the primary and secondary levels...

 and private international school
International school
An International school is loosely defined as a school that promotes international education, in an international environment, either by adopting an international curriculum such as that of the International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International Examinations, or by following a national...

s.

There are nine public universities in Hong Kong, and a number of private higher institutions, offering various bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, other higher diplomas, and associate degree courses.The University of Hong Kong, the oldest institution of tertiary education in the territory, was described by Quacquarelli Symonds
Quacquarelli Symonds
Quacquarelli Symonds is a company specializing in education and study abroad. The company was founded in 1990 by Wharton School MBA graduate Nunzio Quacquarelli...

 as a "world-class comprehensive research university" and was ranked 24th on the 2009 THES - QS World University Rankings
THES - QS World University Rankings
The term Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings refers to rankings published jointly between 2004 and 2009 by Times Higher Education and Quacquarelli Symonds . After QS and Times Higher Education had ended their collaboration, the methodology for these rankings continues to be used by...

, making it first in Asia. The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology was ranked 35th in the world in 2009 and ranked second in Asia for 2010. The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Chinese University of Hong Kong is a research-led university in Hong Kong.CUHK is the only tertiary education institution in Hong Kong with Nobel Prize winners on its faculty, including Chen Ning Yang, James Mirrlees, Robert Alexander Mundell and Charles K. Kao...

 was ranked 46th in the world in 2009 and ranked fourth in Asia for 2010.
Based on the 2011 rankings published by career and education network QS, three of the top five Asian universities are in Hong Kong. They are the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University of Hong kong as first, second and fifth rank, respectively.

Healthcare


There are 13 private hospitals and more than 50 public hospitals in Hong Kong. Among the widest range of healthcare services throughout the globe are on offer, and some of the SAR's private hospitals are rightly considered to be among the very best of their type in the world.

There are two medical schools in the SAR, one based at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the other at Hong Kong University. Both have strong links with public sector hospitals.

With respect to postgraduate education, traditionally many doctors in Hong Kong have looked overseas for further training, and many took British Royal College exams such as the MRCP(UK) and the MRCS(UK). However, Hong Kong has been developing its own postgraduate medical institutions, in particular the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, and this is gradually taking over the responsibility for all postgraduate medical training in the SAR.

There are also strong public health systems in Hong Kong, and the Centre for Health Protection, founded after the SARS outbreak of 2003, is particularly worthy of mention.

Culture


Hong Kong is frequently described as a place where "East meets West", reflecting the culture's mix of the territory's Chinese roots with influences from its time as a British colony. Hong Kong balances a modernised way of life with traditional Chinese practices. Concepts like feng shui
Feng shui
Feng shui ' is a Chinese system of geomancy believed to use the laws of both Heaven and Earth to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. The original designation for the discipline is Kan Yu ....

are taken very seriously, with expensive construction projects often hiring expert consultants, and are often believed to make or break a business. Other objects like Ba gua mirrors are still regularly used to deflect evil spirits, and buildings often lack any floor number that has a 4 in it, due to its similarity to the word for "die" in Cantonese. The fusion of east and west also characterises Hong Kong's cuisine, where dim sum
Dim sum
Dim sum refers to a style of Chinese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates...

, hot pot
Hot pot
Hot pot , less commonly Chinese fondue or steamboat, refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table...

, and fast food
Fast food
Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a...

 restaurants coexist with haute cuisine
Haute cuisine
Haute cuisine or grande cuisine was characterised by French cuisine in elaborate preparations and presentations served in small and numerous courses that were produced by large and hierarchical staffs at the grand restaurants and hotels of Europe.The 17th century chef and writer La Varenne...

.

Hong Kong is a recognised global centre of trade, and calls itself an "entertainment hub". Its martial arts
Martial arts
Martial arts are extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development....

 film genre gained a high level of popularity in the late 1960s and 1970s. Several Hollywood performers, notable actors and martial artists have originated from Hong Kong cinema, notably Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee was a Chinese American, Hong Kong actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher, film director, film producer, screenwriter, and founder of the Jeet Kune Do martial arts movement...

, Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan, SBS, MBE is a Hong Kong actor, action choreographer, comedian, director, producer, martial artist, screenwriter, entrepreneur, singer and stunt performer. In his movies, he is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons, and innovative stunts...

, Chow Yun-fat
Chow Yun-Fat
Chow Yun-fat, SBS is an actor from Hong Kong. He is best known in Asia for his collaboration with filmmaker John Woo in heroic bloodshed genre films A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, and Hard Boiled; and to the West for his role as Li Mu-bai in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon...

, Michelle Yeoh
Michelle Yeoh
Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng is a Hong Kong-based Malaysian Chinese actress, well known for performing her own stunts in the action films that brought her to fame in the early 1990s....

, Maggie Cheung
Maggie Cheung
Maggie Cheung Man yuk is a Chinese actress from Hong Kong. Raised in England and Hong Kong, she has over 70 films to her credit since starting her career in 1983...

 and Jet Li
Jet Li
The fame gained by his sports winnings led to a career as a martial arts film star, beginning in mainland China and then continuing into Hong Kong. Li acquired his screen name in 1982 in the Philippines when a publicity company thought his real name was too hard to pronounce...

. A number of Hong Kong film-makers have achieved widespread fame in Hollywood, such as John Woo
John Woo
John Woo Yu-Sen SBS is a Hong Kong-based film director and producer. Recognized for his stylised films of highly choreographed action sequences, Mexican standoffs, and use of slow-motion, Woo has directed several notable Hong Kong action films, among them, A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Hard...

, Wong Kar-wai
Wong Kar-wai
Wong Kar-wai BBS is a Hong Kong Second Wave filmmaker, internationally renowned as an auteur for his visually unique, highly stylized, emotionally resonant work, including Days of Being Wild , Ashes of Time , Chungking Express , Fallen Angels , Happy Together and 2046...

, and Stephen Chow
Stephen Chow
Stephen Chow Sing-Chi is a Hong Kong actor, comedian, screenwriter, film director and producer.- Professional career :Stephen Chow began as a temporary actor for TVB. He entered TVB in early 1980s, and was trained there, although he had few opportunities to appear in films. Chow graduated from...

. Homegrown films such as Chungking Express
Chungking Express
Chungking Express is a 1994 Hong Kong film written and directed by Wong Kar-wai. The film consists of two stories told in sequence, each about a lovesick Hong Kong policeman mulling over his relationship with a woman...

, Infernal Affairs
Infernal Affairs
Infernal Affairs is a 2002 Hong Kong crime-thriller film directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak. It tells the story of a police officer who infiltrates the triads, and a police officer secretly working for the same gang. The Chinese title means "the non-stop path", a reference to Avici, the lowest...

, Shaolin Soccer
Shaolin Soccer
Shaolin Soccer is a 2001 Hong Kong comedy film co-written, directed by and starring Stephen Chow. A former Shaolin monk reunites his five brothers, years after their master's death, to apply their superhuman martial arts skills to play soccer and bring Shaolin kung fu to the masses.In 2008 a...

, Rumble in the Bronx
Rumble in the Bronx
Rumble in the Bronx is a 1995 Hong Kong martial arts action comedy film starring Jackie Chan and Anita Mui. Released in the US in 1995, Rumble in the Bronx had a successful theater run, and brought Chan into the American mainstream...

, In the Mood for Love
In the Mood for Love
In the Mood for Love is a 2000 Hong Kong film directed by Wong Kar-wai, starring Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung...

and Echoes of the Rainbow
Echoes of the Rainbow
Echoes of the Rainbow is a 2010 Hong Kong drama film directed by Alex Law and starring Simon Yam and Sandra Ng. It won the Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the Children’s Jury "Generation Kplus" category at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival....

have gained international recognition. Hong Kong is the centre for Cantopop
Cantopop
Cantopop is a colloquialism for "Cantonese popular music". It is sometimes referred to as HK-pop, short for "Hong Kong popular music". It is categorized as a subgenre of Chinese popular music within C-pop...

 music, which draws its influence from other forms of Chinese music and Western genres, and has a multinational fanbase.


The Hong Kong government supports cultural institutions such as the Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Hong Kong Heritage Museum is a museum of history, art and culture in Sha Tin, Hong Kong, by the Shing Mun River. The museum opened on 16 December 2000. It is managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Hong Kong Government...

, the Hong Kong Museum of Art
Hong Kong Museum of Art
The Hong Kong Museum of Art is the main art museum of Hong Kong. The museum was established as the City Hall Museum and Art Gallery in the City Hall in Central by the Urban Council in 1962. In 1991, it was moved to the present premises at 10 Salisbury Road, near the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and...

, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra , is the largest symphony orchestra in Hong Kong. First established in 1895 as an amateur orchestra, under the name Sino-British Orchestra, it was renamed the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in 1957, and became a professional orchestra in 1974 under the funding...

. The government's Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Leisure and Cultural Services Department
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department , often abbreviated as LCSD, is a department in the Government of Hong Kong. It reports to the Home Affairs Bureau, headed by the Secretary for Home Affairs. It provides leisure and cultural activities for the people of Hong Kong, which was also one of...

 subsidises and sponsors international performers brought to Hong Kong. Many international cultural activities are organised by the government, consulates, and privately.

Hong Kong has two licensed terrestrial broadcasters – ATV
Asia Television Limited
Asia Television Limited is one of the two free-to-air television broadcasters in Hong Kong, the other being rival Television Broadcasts Limited . It launched in 1957 under the name Rediffusion Television as the first television station in Hong Kong...

 and TVB
Television Broadcasts Limited
Television Broadcasts Limited, commonly known as TVB, is the second over-the-air commercial television station in Hong Kong. It commenced broadcasting on 19 November 1967...

. There are three local and a number of foreign suppliers of cable and satellite services
Pay television services (Hong Kong)
Television in Hong Kong has two broadcast television networks, ATV and TVB. The latter, launched in 1967, was the territory's first free-to-air commercial station, and is currently the predominant TV station in the territory. Paid cable and satellite television have also been widespread...

. The production of Hong Kong's soap dramas, comedy series, and variety shows reach audiences throughout the Chinese-speaking world. Magazine and newspaper publishers in Hong Kong distribute and print in both Chinese and English, with a focus on sensationalism and celebrity gossip. The media in Hong Kong is relatively free from official interference compared to mainland China
Censorship in the People's Republic of China
Censorship in the People's Republic of China is implemented or mandated by the PRC's ruling party, the Communist Party of China . The special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau have their own legal systems and are largely self-governing, so these censorship policies do not apply...

, although the Far Eastern Economic Review
Far Eastern Economic Review
The Far Eastern Economic Review was an English language Asian news magazine started in 1946. It printed its final issue in December 2009. The Hong Kong-based business magazine was originally published weekly...

points to signs of self-censorship by journals whose owners have close ties to or business interests in the People's Republic of China and states that even Western media outlets are not immune to growing Chinese economic power.

Hong Kong offers wide recreational and competitive sport opportunities despite its limited land area. It sends delegates to international competitions such as the Olympic Games and Asian Games
Asian Games
The Asian Games, officially known as Asiad, is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. The Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation from the first Games in New Delhi, India, until the 1978 Games. Since the 1982 Games they have been organised by the...

, and played host to the equestrian events during the 2008 Summer Olympics
2008 Summer Olympics
The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events...

. There are major multipurpose venues like Hong Kong Coliseum
Hong Kong Coliseum
Hong Kong Coliseum is a multi-purpose indoor arena, in Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong.It was built by the Urban Council and inaugurated on 27 April 1983....

 and MacPherson Stadium. Hong Kong's steep terrain and extensive trail network with expansive views attracts hikers, and its rugged coastline provides many beaches
Beaches of Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a long coastline that is full of twists and turns with many bays and beaches. Many of them are well sheltered by mountains nearby, as Hong Kong is a mountainous place...

 for swimming.

Cityscape




Architecture


According to Emporis
Emporis
Emporis GmbH is a real estate data mining company with headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. The company collects and publishes data and photographs of buildings worldwide....

, there are 7,650 skyscrapers in Hong Kong, which puts the city at the top of world rankings.
It has more buildings higher than 35m (or 100m, or 150m) than any other city.
The high density
Urban density
Urban density is a term used in urban planning and urban design to refer to the number of people inhabiting a given urbanized area. As such it is to be distinguished from other measures of population density. Urban density is considered an important factor in understanding how cities function...

 and tall skyline of Hong Kong's urban area is due to a lack of available sprawl
Urban sprawl
Urban sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is a multifaceted concept, which includes the spreading outwards of a city and its suburbs to its outskirts to low-density and auto-dependent development on rural land, high segregation of uses Urban sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is a...

 space, with the average distance from the harbour front to the steep hills of Hong Kong Island at 1.3 km (0.807784557644749 mi), much of it reclaimed land
Land reclamation in Hong Kong
Land is in short supply in Hong Kong, and land reclamation has been conducted there since the mid-19th century.-Projects:One of the earliest and famous project was the Praya Reclamation Scheme, which added 50 to of land in 1890 during the second phase of construction...

. This lack of space causes demand for dense, high-rise offices and housing. Thirty-six of the world's 100 tallest residential buildings are in Hong Kong. More people in Hong Kong live or work above the 14th floor than anywhere else on Earth, making it the world's most vertical city.

As a result of the lack of space and demand for construction, few older buildings remain, and the city is becoming a centre for modern architecture. The International Commerce Centre
International Commerce Centre
The International Commerce Centre is a 108 floor, skyscraper completed in 2010 in West Kowloon, Hong Kong. It is a part of the Union Square project built on top of Kowloon Station. The development is owned and jointly developed by MTR Corporation Limited and Sun Hung Kai Properties, Hong...

 (ICC), at 484 m (1,587.9 ft) high, is the tallest building in Hong Kong and the third tallest in the world, by height to roof measurement. The tallest building prior to the ICC is Two International Finance Centre, at 415 m (1,361.5 ft) high. Other recognisable skyline features include the HSBC Headquarters Building
HSBC Hong Kong headquarters building
The HSBC Main Building is a headquarters building of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited in Central, Hong Kong. It is located along the southern side of Statue Square near the location of the old City Hall, Hong Kong . The previous HSBC building was built in 1935 and pulled down...

, the triangular-topped Central Plaza
Central Plaza, Hong Kong
Central Plaza is the third tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong. With a height of 374 m , Central Plaza is only surpassed by 2 IFC in Central and the ICC in West Kowloon. The building is located at 18 Harbour Road, in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island...

 with its pyramid-shaped spire, The Center
The Center
The Center is the fifth tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong, after International Commerce Centre, Two International Finance Centre , Central Plaza and Bank of China Tower. With a height of 346 m , it comprises 73 stories. The Center is one of the few skyscrapers in Hong Kong that is entirely...

 with its night-time multi-coloured neon light show; A Symphony of Lights
A Symphony of Lights
A Symphony of Lights is a synchronised building exterior decorative light and laser multimedia display, featuring 44 buildings on both sides of the Victoria Harbour of Hong Kong accompanied by music. The technology was developed by Australian firm Laservision and cost approximately 44 million HK...

 and I. M. Pei
I. M. Pei
Ieoh Ming Pei , commonly known as I. M. Pei, is a Chinese American architect, often called a master of modern architecture. Born in Canton, China and raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Pei drew inspiration at an early age from the gardens at Suzhou...

's Bank of China Tower with its sharp, angular façade. According to the Emporis website, the city skyline has the biggest visual impact of all world cities. Also, Hong Kong's skyline
Skyline
A skyline is the overall or partial view of a city's tall buildings and structures consisting of many skyscrapers in front of the sky in the background. It can also be described as the artificial horizon that a city's overall structure creates. Skylines serve as a kind of fingerprint of a city, as...

 is often regarded to be the best in the world, with the surrounding mountains and Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour is a natural landform harbour situated between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula in Hong Kong. The harbour's deep, sheltered waters and strategic location on the South China Sea were instrumental in Hong Kong's establishment as a British colony and its subsequent...

 complementing the skyscrapers. Most of the oldest remaining historic structures, including the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower
Clock Tower, Hong Kong
The Clock Tower is a landmark in Hong Kong. It is located on the southern shore of Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It is the only remnant of the original site of the former Kowloon Station on the Kowloon-Canton Railway...

, the Central Police Station
Central Police Station
Central Police Station is a former police station, located at the eastern end of Hollywood Road, in Central, Hong Kong. It is awaiting development following its decommissioning.-History:...

, and the remains of Kowloon Walled City
Kowloon Walled City
Kowloon Walled City was a densely populated, largely ungoverned settlement in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Originally a Chinese military fort, the Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories were leased to Britain in 1898....

 were constructed during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

There are many development plans in place, including the construction of new government buildings
Tamar site
Tamar site , 4.2-hectare large, the former location of the naval basin attached to the headquarters of the British Forces Overseas Hong Kong, is currently the site of the Central Government Offices of the Hong Kong SAR Government at the harbourfront of Central, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong.To the...

, waterfront redevelopment in Central, and a series of projects in West Kowloon
West Kowloon
West Kowloon is a part of Kowloon, Hong Kong situated within the Yau Tsim Mong District. It is bounded by Canton Road to the east, Victoria Harbour to the west and the south, and Jordan Road to the north. Further to the north, the area extends to Tai Kok Tsui to the west of the West Kowloon...

. More high-rise development is set to take place on the other side of Victoria Harbour in Kowloon, as the 1998 closure of the nearby Kai Tak Airport
Kai Tak Airport
Kai Tak Airport was the international airport of Hong Kong from 1925 until 1998. It was officially known as the Hong Kong International Airport from 1954 to 6 July 1998, when it was closed and replaced by the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, 30 km to the west...

 lifted strict height restrictions.

Transport


Hong Kong's transportation network is highly developed. Over 90% of daily travels (11 million) are on public transport, the highest such percentage in the world. Payment can be made using the Octopus card
Octopus card
The Octopus card is a rechargeable contactless stored value smart card used to transfer electronic payments in online or offline systems in Hong Kong...

, a stored value system introduced by the Mass Transit Railway (MTR)
MTR
Mass Transit Railway is the rapid transit railway system in Hong Kong. Originally opened in 1979, the system now includes 211.6 km of rail with 155 stations, including 86 railway stations and 69 light rail stops...

, which is widely accepted on railways, buses and ferries, and accepted like cash at other outlets.

The city's main railway company (MTR
MTR
Mass Transit Railway is the rapid transit railway system in Hong Kong. Originally opened in 1979, the system now includes 211.6 km of rail with 155 stations, including 86 railway stations and 69 light rail stops...

) was merged with the urban mass transit operator (KCRC) in 2007, creating a comprehensive rail network for the whole territory (also called MTR
MTR
Mass Transit Railway is the rapid transit railway system in Hong Kong. Originally opened in 1979, the system now includes 211.6 km of rail with 155 stations, including 86 railway stations and 69 light rail stops...

). This MTR rapid transit
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 system has 152 stations, which serve 3.4 million people a day. Hong Kong Tramways
Hong Kong Tramways
Hong Kong Tramways is a tram system in Hong Kong and one of the earliest forms of public transport in Hong Kong. Owned and operated by Veolia Transport, the tramway runs on Hong Kong Island between Shau Kei Wan and Kennedy Town, with a branch circulating Happy Valley...

, which has served the territory since 1904, covers the northern parts of Hong Kong Island.



Hong Kong's bus service is franchised and run by private operators. Five privately owned companies provide franchised bus service across the territory, together operating more than 700 routes. The two largest, Kowloon Motor Bus
Kowloon Motor Bus
The Kowloon Motor Bus Company Limited , a company of the Transport International Holdings Limited, is the largest franchised bus operators in Hong Kong, and one of the largest privately owned public bus operators in the world...

 provides 402 routes in Kowloon and New Territories; Citybus
Citybus (Hong Kong)
Citybus Limited is one of the three major bus operators in Hong Kong. It provides both franchised and non-franchised bus service. The franchised route network serves mainly Hong Kong Island, cross-harbour routes , Ocean Park, North Lantau and Hong Kong International Airport...

 operates 154 routes on Hong Kong Island; both run cross-harbour services. Double-decker bus
Double-decker bus
A double-decker bus is a bus that has two storeys or 'decks'. Global usage of this type of bus is more common in outer touring than in its intra-urban transportion role. Double-decker buses are also commonly found in certain parts of Europe, Asia, and former British colonies and protectorates...

es were introduced to Hong Kong in 1949, and are now almost exclusively used; single-decker buses remain in use for routes with lower demand or roads with lower load capacity. Public light bus
Public light bus
A Public light bus is a common public mode of transport in Hong Kong. It mainly serves the area that standard Hong Kong bus lines cannot reach as efficiently. It is also colloquially known as a minibus or a van, defined as a kind of share taxi....

es serve most parts of Hong Kong, particularly areas where standard bus lines cannot reach or do not reach as frequently, quickly, or directly.
The Star Ferry
Star Ferry
The Star Ferry, or The "Star" Ferry Company, is a passenger ferry service operator in Hong Kong. Its principal routes carry passengers across Victoria Harbour, between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon...

 service, founded in 1888, operates four lines across Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour is a natural landform harbour situated between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula in Hong Kong. The harbour's deep, sheltered waters and strategic location on the South China Sea were instrumental in Hong Kong's establishment as a British colony and its subsequent...

 and provides scenic views of Hong Kong's skyline for its 53,000 daily passengers. It acquired iconic status following its use as a setting on The World of Suzie Wong
The World of Suzie Wong
The World of Suzie Wong is a 1957 novel written by Richard Mason. The main characters are Robert Lomax, a young British artist living in Hong Kong, and Suzie Wong, the title character, a Chinese woman who works as a prostitute...

. Travel writer Ryan Levitt considered the main Tsim Sha Tsui to Central crossing one of the most picturesque in the world. Other ferry services are provided by operators serving outlying islands, new towns, Macau, and cities in mainland China. Hong Kong is famous for its junks
Junk (ship)
A junk is an ancient Chinese sailing vessel design still in use today. Junks were developed during the Han Dynasty and were used as sea-going vessels as early as the 2nd century AD. They evolved in the later dynasties, and were used throughout Asia for extensive ocean voyages...

 traversing the harbour, and small kai-to
Kai-to
The kai-to is a type of small, motorized ferry operating in Hong Kong. They are usually used to serve remote coastal settlements in the territory's outlying islands....

 ferries that serve remote coastal settlements. The Port of Hong Kong
Port of Hong Kong
The Port of Hong Kong, located by the South China Sea, is a deepwater seaport dominated by trade in containerised manufactured products, and to a lesser extent raw materials and passengers. A key factor in the economic development of Hong Kong, the natural shelter and deep waters of Victoria...

 is a busy deepwater port, specialising in container shipping.


Hong Kong Island's steep, hilly terrain was initially served by sedan chairs. The Peak Tram
Peak Tram
The Peak Tramway is a funicular railway in Hong Kong, which carries both tourists and residents to the upper levels of Hong Kong Island. Running from Central district to Victoria Peak via the Mid-Levels, it provides the most direct route and offers good views over the harbour and skyscrapers of...

, the first public transport system in Hong Kong, has provided vertical rail transport between Central and Victoria Peak since 1888. In Central and Western district
Central and Western District
The Central and Western District located on northern part of Hong Kong Island is one of the 18 administrative districts of Hong Kong. It had a population of 261,884 in 2001...

, there is an extensive system of escalators and moving pavements, including the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, the Mid-Levels escalator.

Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport is the main airport in Hong Kong. It is colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport , being built on the island of Chek Lap Kok by land reclamation, and also to distinguish it from its predecessor, the closed Kai Tak Airport.The airport opened for commercial...

 is a leading air passenger gateway and logistics hub in Asia and one of the world's busiest airports in terms of international passenger and cargo movement, serving more than 47 million passengers and handling 3.74 million tonnes (4.12 million tons) of cargo in 2007. It replaced the overcrowded Kai Tak Airport
Kai Tak Airport
Kai Tak Airport was the international airport of Hong Kong from 1925 until 1998. It was officially known as the Hong Kong International Airport from 1954 to 6 July 1998, when it was closed and replaced by the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, 30 km to the west...

 in Kowloon in 1998, and has been rated as the world's best airport in a number of surveys. Over 85 airlines operate at the two-terminal airport and it is the primary hub of Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific is the flag carrier of Hong Kong, with its head office and main hub located at Hong Kong International Airport, although the airline's registered office is on the 33rd floor of One Pacific Place...

, Dragonair, Air Hong Kong
Air Hong Kong
AHK Air Hong Kong Limited is the only all cargo airline based in Hong Kong, with its main hub at Hong Kong International Airport. The airline operates an express freight network to 12 destinations in nine countries, including China, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of China , Singapore,...

, Hong Kong Airlines, and Hong Kong Express
Hong Kong Express Airways
Hong Kong Express Airways Limited , is an airline based in Hong Kong, with its main hub at Hong Kong International Airport. The airline operates scheduled passenger services to 19 destinations in seven countries across Asia, including codeshares with its sister airline, Hong Kong Airlines...

.

See also




External links


Government

Other
  • Hong Kong at Encyclopædia Britannica
    Encyclopædia Britannica
    The Encyclopædia Britannica , published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia that is available in print, as a DVD, and on the Internet. It is written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 expert...

  • HongKong at UCB Libraries GovPubs
  • WikiSatellite view of Hong Kong at WikiMapia