Hong Kong, locally known as 香港 pinyin xiang1 gang3 (Cantonese: Heung Gong), meaning Fragrant Harbour, is a special administrative region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China, consisting of several islands in the South China Sea and a peninsula connecting it to mainland China.
|National motto: None|
|Official languages||Cantonese and English|
|President of the PRC||Hu Jintao|
|Chief Executive||Tung Chee-hwa|
- % water
- Total (2002)
|Handover to the PRC
on July 1, 1997
|Currency||Hong Kong dollar (HKD)|
|Time zone||UTC +8 (AWST[?])|
Occupied by the United Kingdom during the First Opium War in 1841, Hong Kong was formally ceded by China the following year by the Treaty of Nanking. Various adjacent lands, known as the New Territories were added later in the 19th century. Pursuant to an agreement signed by the PRC and the UK on December 19, 1984 (the Sino-British Joint Declaration), Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the PRC on July 1, 1997.
In this agreement, the PRC has promised that, under the "One Country, Two Systems" policy proposed by Deng Xiaoping, China's socialist economic system will not be practised in Hong Kong and that Hong Kong will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for 50 years, until 2047.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is headed by Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa as head of government. Mr. Tung assumed office on July 1, 1997, following his selection by a 400-member committee appointed by the People's Republic of China, whose president serves as head of state for the Hong Kong SAR. Legislative Council elections were held in May 1998 and again in September 2000. According to the Basic Law, Hong Kong's "Mini-constitution," the Legislative Council has 24 directly elected members; 30 members elected by functional (occupational) constituencies and 6 elected by an Election Committee.
The 1998 and 2000 elections were seen as free, open, and widely contested, despite discontent among mainly prodemocracy politicians that the functional constituency and Election Committee elections are essentially undemocratic because so few voters are eligible to vote. The Civil Service maintains its quality and neutrality, operating without discernible direction from Beijing.
Hong Kong consists of 18 districts:
The name "Hong Kong" is derived from Hong Kong Island in the South China Sea, at the mouth of the Xi Jiang[?] or Pearl River. Other territories that were later added included over 200 surrounding islands and the Kowloon peninsula, also containing the New Territories. The landscape is fairly hilly to mountainous with steep slopes, with the highest point being the Tai Mo Shan[?] at 958 m, though lowlands exist in the north.
The local climate is that of a tropical monsoon clime. It's cool and humid in winter, hot and rainy from spring through summer, and warm and sunny in fall. Hong Kong is visisted by occasional typhoons.
Hong Kong has a bustling free market economy highly dependent on international trade. Natural resources are limited, and food and raw materials must be imported. Indeed, imports and exports, including re-exports, each exceed GDP in dollar value. Even before Hong Kong reverted to Chinese administration on July 1, 1997 it had extensive trade and investment ties with the People's Republic of China.
Per capita GDP compares with the level in the four big economies of Western Europe. GDP growth averaged a strong 5% in 1989-1997. The widespread Asian economic difficulties in 1998 hit this trade-dependent economy quite hard, with GDP down 5%. The economy, with growth of 10% in 2000, recovered rapidly from the Asian financial crisis. The recent global downturn has badly hurt Hong Kong's exports and GDP growth is estimated to be 0% in 2001. Private sector analysts project 2002 GDP growth to be 1.8%.
Hong Kong has an airport called Hong Kong International Airport, located on a partly artificial island connected to Lantau Island. The airport is often called Chek Lap Kok Airport, after one of the islands that it was built on. Chek Lap Kok is the replacement for Kai Tak Airport[?], which had a spectacular urban approach. Kai Tak was dismantled after Chek Lap Kok was built.
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with an overall density of nearly 6,700 people per square kilometre. Despite the population density, Hong Kong was reported to be one of the greenest cities in Asia. The majority of people live on flats in high-rise buildings. The rest of the open spaces are often covered with parks, woods and shrubs. The vertical placement of the population explains why densely populated, green city is not an oxymoronic phrase.
Cantonese, the Chinese dialect used in Hong Kong government matters, is spoken by most of the population. English, also an official language, is widely understood; it is spoken by more than one-third of the population. Every major religion is practiced in Hong Kong; ancestor worship is predominant due to the strong Confucian influence, whereas Christianity is practised by a minority of 10%.
Main article: Culture of Hong Kong[?]
|Date||English Name||Local Name||Remarks|
|January 1||The first day of January||一月一日|
|January 1 (Lunar)||Lunar New Year's Day||農曆年初一||Usually in late Jan or early Feb|
|January 2 (Lunar)||The second day of the Lunar New Year||農曆年初二|
|January 3 (Lunar)||The third day of the Lunar New Year||農曆年初三|
|Ching Ming Festival[?]||清明節||Usually in April. See Chinese calendar.|
About 15 days after Vernal Equinox
Day for paying respect to the deceased
|The day following Good Friday||耶穌受難節翌日|
|May 1||Labour Day||勞動節|
|April 8 (Lunar)||The Buddha's Birthday||佛誕||Usually in May|
|May 5 (Lunar)||Tuen Ng Festival[?]||端午節||Usually in June|
|July 1||Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day||香港特別行政區成立紀念日|
|August 16 (Lunar)||The day following Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival[?]||中秋節翌日||Usually in September|
|October 1||National Day[?]||國慶日|
|September 9 (Lunar)||Chung Yeung Festival[?]||重陽節||Usually in October|
|December 25||Christmas Day||聖誕節|
|December 26||The first weekday after Christmas Day||聖誕節後第一個周日|
Reference: General Holidays Ordinance (http://www.justice.gov.hk/blis.nsf/FB2D3FD8A4E2A3264825647C0030A9E1/EC16AF2AF1A319BD88256489000ADF4E?OpenDocument)
Major landmarks include:
Click here for the full size (/upload/f/fc/Hongkong_central_kowloon-full.jpg).