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Hong Kong

From Academic Kids

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (Chinese: 中華人民共和國香港特別行政區, pronunciation Template:Audio) is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China located at the south coast of China. Hong Kong usually participates in international events under the name "Hong Kong, China".

Hong Kong consists of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories. The Kowloon Peninsula is attached to the New Territories in the north, and the New Territories are in turn connected to Mainland China across the Sham Chun River (Shenzhen River). In total, Hong Kong has 236 islands in the South China Sea, of which Lantau is the largest and Hong Kong Island the second largest and most populated. Ap Lei Chau is the most densely populated island in the world.

Hong Kong was a British crown colony until 1 July 1997, when it was returned to Chinese rule. Under the policy of the 'One Country, Two Systems', Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy from the Mainland. Hong Kong continues to have its own legal system, currency, customs, immigration authorities, and its own rule of the road, with traffic continuing to drive on the left. Only national defence and diplomatic relations are responsibilities of the central government in Beijing. Template:Hong Kong infobox

Contents

History

Main article: History of Hong Kong

Even though Hong Kong has been occupied since the Neolithic Age, the area now known as Hong Kong remained distant from the major events that took place in Imperial China for most of its history. Hong Kong only began to attract the attention of China and the rest of the world in the 19th century. Hong Kong was first visited by a European in 1513, by the Portuguese mariner Jorge Alvares. He first landed on the island of Lintin, which is to the west of the New Territories in the Pearl River Delta.

Alvares began trading with the Chinese, and the Portuguese continued to make periodic trade stops at various locations up and down the coast. This lead the Portuguese to establish a permanent trading station at Macau, which was to be the first European settelement in Chinese territory. The Portuguese introduced Europe to tea, silk, and other Asian luxury goods, and by the mid-18th century, these items were in high demand, and in particular, tea. At this time, China enjoyed a near monopoly on the entire tea industry, and insisted that all tea be purchaed in silver. The British, in order to buy tea from China, grew opium and sold it for silver, which it then used to buy tea to export. Tensions arose over increasing Chinese dependenec on opium, which culminated in the Chinese destruction in over 20,000 chests of opium in Canton. Britain, seeing this as an act of war, invaded China, winning the First Opium War in 1841.

Hong Kong Island was first occupied by the British during the war, and was formally ceded by the Qing Dynasty of China the following year under the Treaty of Nanking. Kowloon Peninsula south of Boundary Street and Stonecutter's Island were ceded to the British in 1860 under the Convention of Peking after the Second Opium War. Various adjacent lands, known as the New Territories (including New Kowloon and Lantau Island) were then leased by Britain for 99 years from 1 July 1898 ending in 30 June 1997.

Hong Kong became a crown colony in 1843. For the first twenty years of its existance, the colony had almost no government as no British civil servants spoke any Chinese. Exacerbating matters, there was little contact between the European and Chinese communities. The first specially recruited Hong Kong civil servants to be taught Cantonese were recruited in 1862, markedly improving relations.

Hong Kong entered a dark age during the Japanese Occupation of World War II, which lasted for three years and eight months. The Japanese assumed control of Hong Kong when the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Young, surrendered to Imperial Japanese Army on 25 December 1941 after 18 days of fierce fighting. After the Japanese surrendered on 15 August 1945, and civilian rule was re-established on 30 August 1946. The port was quickly re-opened, which welcomed a mass migration of Chinese refugees in 1949 from the civil war and new Communist government in China.

The Hong Kong economy took advantage of this new pool of workers who were willing to work for almost any wage, establishing a textile industry lead by Shanghainese entrepreneurs who had fled the Communists. During this time period, the economy grew extremely rapidly and Hong Kong grew into one of the largest industrial centres in Asia. Towards the 1970's, Hong Kong began to move away from the textile industry and develop its financal and banking economy. This lead to even greater levels of wealth, and Hong Kong quickly became among the wealthiest countries in the world.

When it became clear that the lease for the New Territories would soon be expiring, it became necessary for Britain to negotiate the return of Hong Kong to China. This was done between Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping in 1984. Pursuant to an agreement signed by the People's Republic of China and the United Kingdom on 19 December 1984, the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the whole territory of Hong Kong under British colonial rule became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the PRC on 1 July 1997.

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The Hang Seng Index fell by 22.8 percent in a week of 28 October 1998 after the real estate bubble economy collapsed, severely damaging the economy.

In the Joint Declaration, the PRC promised that under the "One Country, Two Systems" policy proposed by Deng Xiaoping, the socialist economic system in mainland China would not be practised in Hong Kong and Hong Kong's previous capitalist system and life-style shall remain unchanged for 50 years or until 2047. Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign affairs and defence. Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule at the stroke of midnight on 30 June 1997. The exchange of power was peaceful, despite widespread worries.

The handover co-incided with the large scale collapse of land values in Hong Kong, greatly damaging the economy which had grown in a bubble economy. The land values fell in some areas by over half, trapping many people in a cycle of negative equity. The Hang Seng Index fell by over 1,500 points on 28 October, and lost 22.8 percent of its value in a week. Exacerbating economies problems, Hong Kong was hit badly with the SARS virus. Tourism numbers decreaed to near zero, and the government was sharply criticised for its inefficient and uncoordinated response to the virus.

In 2003, concerns about the proposed anti-subversion bill that would have eroded freedom of the press, of religion and of association arising from Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23 and unpopularity of the government, plus dissatisfaction about the poor state of the economy, prompted half million people to parade on July 1, making it the largest protest aimed at the government ever in the history of Hong Kong.

On 10 March 2005, Tung Chee Hwa submitted to the State Council his resignation report as chief executive of the Hong Kong. Tung Chee Hwa left his post as HKSAR Chief Executive two days later, on 12 March. Donald Tsang, the Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong, served as Acting Chief Executive until 25 May, when he resigned from his post to take part in the campaign for the new Chief Executive election. Following an interim government headed by Henry Tang, Sir Donald Tsang was elected as the SAR's new Chief Executive.

Politics and government

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The Legislative Council Building in Central.
Main article: Politics of Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is headed by its Chief Executive, the head of government. This office is presently held by Donald Tsang, who was elected on June 16, 2005. Tsang had held the post of Chief Secretary for Administration prior.

The election of a new Chief Executive by the 800-member Election Committee was expected to be held on 10 July 2005 where the elected will serve the remainder of the Tung's second term in office, according to the interpretation of Annex I and Article 46 by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. On 16 June 2005, Donald Tsang was declared winner as the only candidate securing the required 100 nominations from members of the election committee.

Tung Chee Hwa, the first Chief Executive, assumed office on 1 July 1997, following his election by a 400-member electoral college. For the second five-year term of the Chief Executive which began in July 2002, Tung was the only nominated candidate and therefore declared elected unopposed.

The PRC set up a Provisional Legislative Council just before the handover, and moved to Hong Kong to have its meetings after the handover. It reverted some laws passed by the original Legislative Council, which was formed by means of universal suffrage. It passed some laws for example, the Public Order Ordinance (公安條例) which required permission from police to hold a demonstration where the number of people who participates exceeds 30. Legislative Council elections were held on 24 May 1998, 10 September 2000, and again on 12 September 2004, with the next scheduled for 2008. According to the Basic Law, Hong Kong's "Mini-constitution", the present third term of the Legislative Council has 30 seats directly elected from geographical constituencies, and 30 seats elected from functional constituencies. The 1998, 2000 and 2004 Legislative Council elections were seen as free, open, and widely contested, despite discontent among a small number of mainly 'pro-democracy' politicians, who contended that the functional constituency elections and the Election Committee elections (for 1998 and 2000) were undemocratic as they consider that the electorate for these seats is too narrow.

The civil service of Hong Kong maintains its quality and neutrality, operating without discernible direction from Beijing. Many government and administrative operations are located in Central on Hong Kong Island near the historical location of Victoria City, the site of the original British settlements.

The Right of abode issue sparked debates in 1999, while the controversy over Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23 was the focus of politics in Hong Kong between 2002 and 2003 culminating in a peaceful mass demonstration on 1 July 2003, after which the government shelved the drafted law brought forth by the Article 23. The focus of controversies shifted to the issue of universal suffrage towards the end of 2003 and in 2004, which was the slogan of another peaceful mass demonstration on 1 July 2004.

Legal System and Judiciary

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An assembly of Hong Kong judges and lawyers
Main articles: Legal system of Hong Kong and Judiciary of Hong Kong

In contrast to mainland China's civil law system, Hong Kong continues to follow the common law tradition established by British colonial rule. Article 84 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong allows Hong Kong's courts to refer to decisions (precedents) rendered by courts of foreign jurisdictions and to invite foreign judges to participate in proceedings of Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal. Respecting court decisions from foreign courts is important because of the possibility that a judgment or award given in Hong Kong may have to be enforced in other countries such as Australia.

Inter-jursidictional proceedings are not uncommon in Hong Kong's court system. Many Chinese consider Hong Kong courts to be more "honest" compared to those in the mainland because the legal principles of rule of law and judicial independence are more entrenched and readily observed in the now former British colony. It is not strange to see mainland Chinese trying to launch their lawsuits in a Hong Kong court in hope of a more fair and predictable judgment.

Structurally, Hong Kong's court system consists of the Court of Final Appeal, which replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the High Court, which is made up of the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance, and the District Court, which includes the Family Court. Other adjudicative bodies include the Lands Tribunal, the Magistrates' Courts, the Juvenille Court, the Coroner's Court, the Labour Tribunal, the Small Claims Tribunal, and the Obscene Articles Tribunal, which is responsible for classifying non-video pornography to be circulated in Hong Kong. Justices of the Court of Final Appeal are appointed by Hong Kong's Chief Executive. The current Chief Justice is the Honourable Mr. Justice Andrew Li Kwok-Nang.

As in England, lawyers in Hong Kong are made of barristers and solicitors where one can choose to practice as one or the other but not both. The vast majority of lawyers are solicitors who are licensed and regulated by the Law Society of Hong Kong. Barristers, meanwhile, are licensed and regulated by the Hong Kong Bar Association. Only barristers are allowed to appear in the Court of Final Appeal and the High Court. There are many established foreign law firms in Hong Kong, and foreign lawyers may apply to the Law Society for a special practising license. Just as the common law system is maintained, so are British courtroom customs such as the wearing of robes and wigs by both judges and lawyers. English and Chinese are the official languages of the courts.

Administrative divisions

Main article: Districts of Hong Kong

Hong Kong consists of 18 administrative districts:

Geography

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A relief map of Hong Kong and southern part of Shenzhen. (Details (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=22.395630,114.112244&spn=0.498505,0.666733&z=6&t=k&hl=en))
Main article: Geography of Hong Kong, Ecology of Hong Kong

The name "Hong Kong", literally meaning fragrant harbour, is derived from the area around present-day Aberdeen and Wong Chuk Hang on Hong Kong Island, where fragrant trees were once abundant and exported. The Hong Kong Island is located in the South China Sea at the mouth of the Pearl River (Zhu Jiang). Other territories that were added later include the Kowloon Peninsula (south of Boundary Street) and the New Territories. The New Territories includes over 200 surrounding smaller islands. The body of water between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula is Victoria Harbour, one of the finest deep water ports in the world. The landscape of Hong Kong is fairly hilly to mountainous with steep slopes. The higest point in the territory is Tai Mo Shan, at a height of 958 metres. Lowlands exist in the northwestern part of the New Territories.

Hong Kong is 60km to the east of Macau on the opposite side of the Pearl River estuary. Hong Kong has a land border with the Chinese city of Shenzhen to the north. Of the territory's 1,102 square kilometres, only less than 25 percent is developed. The remaining has been reserved as country parks and nature reserves.

Hong Kong's climate is tropical and prone to monsoons. It is cool and dry in the wintertime which lasts from around January to march, and is hot and rainy from spring through summer. It is warm, sunny, and dry in autumn. Hong Kong occasionally has typhoons. The ecology of Hong Kong is mostly affected by the results of climatic changes. Hong Kong's climate is seasonal due to alternating wind direction between winter and summer. Hong Kong is geologically stable for millions of years, flora and fauna in Hong Kong are altered by climatic change, sea level alternation and human impact.

Economy

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Streets of Hong Kong featuring prominent shopping such as Giorgio Armani.
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Main article: Economy of Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a vibrant economy that is highly dependent on international trade. The dominant presence of international trade is reflected in the number of consulates located in the territory: as of June 2005, Hong Kong had 107 consulates and consulates-general, more than any other city in the world. Even New York City, host of the United Nations, only has 93 consulates. Hong Kong has one of the world's least restricted economies, and is the world's 10th largest trading entity and 11th largest banking centre.

The objective of Hong Kong's monetary policy is to maintain currency stability. Given the highly externally oriented nature of the economy, this objective is further defined as a stable external value for the Hong Kong dollar in terms of a linked exchange rate against the US dollar at the rate of $7.80 to US$1. This objective is achieved through the linked exchange rate system introduced in October 1983.

Hong Kong has limited natural resources, and food and raw materials must be imported. In fact, imports and exports (including re-exports), exceed the GDP of Hong Kong. Hong Kong has extensive trade and investment ties with the People's Republic of China which existed even before the handover on 1 July 1997. The industry represented 86.5 percent of the GDP in 2001. The territory, with a highly sophisticated banking sector and good communication links, hosts the Asian headquarters of many multinational corporations.

At USD 24,626 (2005), the per capita (nominal) GDP of Hong Kong is considerably lower than that of the four big economies of western Europe. However, it would be ranked 11th in terms of per capita GDP (PPP) in the world, which is even higher than Japan (USD 31,384), making Hong Kong one of the richest territorial regions in Asia. Growth averaged a strong five percent between 1989 and 1997, although the Asian financial crisis in 1998 damaged the trade-dependant economy badly, prompting the economy to shrink by five percent in a year. However, the economy, which grew by 10 percent in 2000, recovered rapidly, although the recent world-wide global downturn has decreased the market for Hong Kong's exports, reducing economig growth to 2.3 percent in 2002.

The outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) greatly weakened the Hong Kong economy, as tourism numbers plummeted as tourists were afraid of catching the virus. After Hong Kong was declared SARS-free, tourism numbers resumed to the pre-2003 levels. Mainland China and Hong Kong signed the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) on 29 June 2003. The CEPA allows Hong Kong services providers in 18 different fields to enter the Mainland market at least one year ahead of their foreign competitors. The arrangement has created a platform for Hong Kong professionals to practice in the Mainland, and also allows Hong Kong citizens and permanent residents to establish individually owned retail stores in Guangdong Province.

Further increasing economic co-operation between Hong Kong and the Mainland, the Individual Visit Scheme was started on 28 July 2003, which allows travellers from some cities in Mainland China to visit Hong Kong without an accompanying tour grop. As a result, the tourism industry in Hong Kong is booming due to an exponential increase in the number of visitors from Mainland China.

A revival in both external and domestic demand lead to a strong upswing in growth in 2004, surging to 8.2 percent for the year. The domestic sector completely shrugged off its earlier slugishness, and the general weakness of the Hong Kong dollar, when included with the still modest cost and price pressures in Hong Kong, has resulted in a strengthening in Hong Kong's external price competativeness. In addition, Hong Kong's 68 month long deflationary spiral, the longest and highest deflation according to Guiness World Records, ended in mid-2004, with consumer price inflation hovering at near zero levels.

In 2004, the revival in both external and domestic demand led to a strong upswing in Hong Kong's GDP growth, which surged 8.2% for the year. The domestic sector had completely shrugged off its earlier sluggishness, and, on the competitiveness front, the general weakness of the Hong Kong dollar, coupled with still modest cost and price pressures in Hong Kong, resulted in a strenthening in Hong Kong's external price competitiveness. In addition, Hong Kong's 68-month long deflationary spiral ended in mid-2004, with consumer price inflation hovering at near zero levels towards the end of 2004.

Demographics

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Hong Kong is home to some of the most densely settled areas of the world: this is a typical street scene in Mong Kok.
Main article: Demographics of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is by population the fourth largest metropolitan area of the PRC (see list of cities in China). Considered as a dependency, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated countries/dependencies in the world, with an overall density of more than 6,200 people per km².

Hong Kong has a fertility rate of .94 children per woman, one of the lowest in the world, and far below the 2.1 children per woman required to maintain an even population level. However, population is continuously growing due to immigration from mainland China.

Despite the population density, Hong Kong was reported to be one of the greenest cities in Asia. The majority of people live in flats in high-rise buildings. The rest of the open spaces are often covered with parks, woods and shrubs. About 60% of the land is designated as Country Parks and Nature Reserves. Hiking and camping are popular outdoor activities in Hong Kong's hilly country parks. The irregular and long coastline of Hong Kong also provides many bays and fine beaches for its inhabitants. Environmental concern and awareness is growing, however, as Hong Kong ranks as one of the most (air-)polluted cities in the world.

Cantonese, the Chinese language used in Hong Kong government matters, is spoken by most of the local Chinese population at home and in the office. But English is quite widely understood; it is spoken, mostly at work, by more than one-third of the population.

Every major religion is freely practised in Hong Kong. Ancestor worship is predominant due to the strong Confucian influence, whereas Christianity is practised by a mere 10% of the population. The Christian community is roughly equally divided between Catholics and Protestants. The are also an estimated 70,000 Muslims in Hong Kong. There are between 2,000 and 3,000 Jews living in Hong Kong.

About 95% of Hong Kong residents claim primarily Chinese ancestry. Caucasians make up about 1.5% of the population. The top three nationalities come from the Philippines (132 770), Indonesia (95 460) and the USA (31 330).

Culture

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Aberdeen Harbour and jetty where you may catch a sampan to the floating restaurant
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An exhibition about the Hong Kong spirit is currently being held in Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Main article: Culture of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is often described as a city where East meets West, yet 96 percent of its population is Chinese, the majority of which are Cantonese. Therefore, while the colony was ruled by the British for nearly 150 years, its psyche is firmly Chinese.

Since the Handover, a small flood of immigrants from Mainland China have increased the ethnic diversity of the Chinese population in the territory. The remaining four percent of the population is composed of non-Chinese, who form a highly visible group despite their small numbers. While Hong Kong was British territory for 150 years, not many British citizens remain today. Of some 30,000 British citizens who live in Hong Kong, the majority are Chinese. There is also a very important South Asian population, which includes some of Hong Kong's wealthiest families. Some Nepalis are Gurkhas who chose to stay, or their descendants. There are also more than 15,000 Vietnamese refugees staying and absorbed as residents, the majority of which survive on casual manual jobs. There are also over 120,000 Filipinas who work in Hong Kong as maids, which are known in Hong Kong as amahs, or more often feiyungs. Some maids are from Thailand and Indonesia. On Sundays and on public holidays, thousands of feiyungs gather in Central to socialise.

Religion plays an important role in many Hong Konger's lives. Most of Hong Kong's population is either Buddhist or Taoist, but there are also about half a million Christians, up to 100,000 Muslims, and a few Hindus, Sikhs, and Jews. Unlike the Mainland, Hong Kong enjoys total freedom of religion. There are some fears, however, that Beijing may interfere with this in the future, particularly in light of the crackdon on the Falun Gong. The religious beliefs are tied to the region's first needs, those of the fishing community. Tin Hau, the protector of seafarers, is honoured with several temples throughout Hong Kong. The average Hong Konger goes to taoist or Buddhist temples to appease the deities and, usually, to ask for compassion or good fortune. Gifts of food, and in particular fruit, are presented, and incense and paper offerings are burnt in respect.

There are some major Chinese festivals celebrated in the calendar, the Lunar New year, the Tuen Ng Festival (Dragon Boat Festival), the Yu Lan Festival (Hungry Ghost Festival), the Mid-Autumn Festival, Ching Ming Festival and the Winter Solstice. These festivals give people breaks from work, and are times for families to gather and to exchange food and gifts. Christian holidays are also public holidays in Hong Kong.

Hong Kongers traditionally spend their leisure time playing games. Mahjong is extremely popular in Hong Kong, and it is possible to see people playing almost everywhere, especially during holidays. Chinese chess is mostly played by elderly Chinese men across Hong Kong, who are usually surrounded by crowds betting on the winner, and is also popular among secondary school students. The martial art of tai chi is also popular, especially among the elderly. There are groups of people who practice tai chi in every park in Hong Kong at dawn, making the slow and graceful movements associated with the practice.

Every district in Hong Kong has old-fashioned stores that sell Chinese herbal medicine. The largest concentration of these shops is along Bonham Strand and Bonham Strand West in Sheung Wan, where all types of pills, plants, and dried animals are for sale.

Education

Main article: Education in Hong Kong

As Hong Kong was a British colony its education system follows the British education system, and in particular, the English education system. In Hong Kong there is a non-compulsory three-year kindergarten by a cumpulsory of a six-year primary education, three-year junior secondary education, and a non-compulsory two-year senior secondary education leading to the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examiniations and a two-year matriculation course leading to the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examinations. There are also tertiary institutions offering various bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, other higher diplomas and associate degree courses.

In general, three types of comprehensive schools exist in Hong Kong. There are government schools, which are relatively rare, and most students go to subsidised schools, run by charitable (often Christian) organizations with government funding. Most private schools are run by Christian organizations as well; admissions are based more on academic merit than on financial resources.

Outside this system are the private international schools, which provide an alternative to the high-pressured mainstream education in exchange for much higher tuition fees.

Religion

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Main article:Religion in Hong Kong

Religious freedom is one of the fundamental rights enjoyed by Hong Kong residents. It is protected by the Basic Law and the relevant legislation. There are a large variety of religious groups in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. All of these groups have a considerable number of adherents. Apart from offering religious instructions, many major religious bodies have established schools and provided social welfare facilities.

There are five major festivals in the Chinese calendar, with the Lunar New Year being the most important. Gifts and visits are exchanged among friends and relatives and children receive lai see, or lucky money. During the Ching Ming Festival in spring, ancestral graves are visited. In early summer (fifth day of the fifth lunar month), the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated with dragon boat races and by eating cooked glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaves. The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. Gifts of mooncakes, wine and fruit are exchanged and adults and children go into parks and the countryside at night with colourful lanterns. Chung Yeung is on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, when many visit their ancestors graves or hike up mountains in remembrance of an ancient Chinese familys escape from plague and death by fleeing to a mountain top. Apart from the above traditional festivals, quite a number of important religious festivals, including Good Friday, Easter, Buddhas Birthday and Christmas, have been listed as public holidays. Adherents hold special celebration or memorial ceremonies on these occasions.

Architecture

Due to the lack of available space, few historical buildings remain in the urban areas of Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong has become a centre for modern architecture as older buildings are cleared away to make space for newer, larger buildings. Historically, the demand for high-end buildings has been in and around Central. After decades of development, Central has become a district with plenty of tall business buldings. These buildings comprise the skyline along coast of the Victoria Harbour, which is a famous tourist attraction in Hong Kong. But as until Kai Tak Airport closed in 1998, strict height restrictions were in force in Kowloon so that aeroplanes could come in to land. These restrictions have now been lifted, and several new buildings in Kowloon are being planned, including a massive tower at the West Kowloon reclamation.

Hong Kong's best-known building is probably Ieoh Ming Pei's Bank of China Tower. The building attracted heated controversy from the moment its design was released to the public, which continued for years after the building's completion in 1990. The building was said to cast negative feng shui energy into the heart of Hong Kong due to the building's sharp angles. One rumour even went so far as to say that the negative energy was concentrated on the Government House as a Chinese plot to foil any decisions taken there. The two white aerials on top on the building were deemed inauspicious as two sticks of incense are burned for the dead.

Predating the Bank of China Tower, the HSBC Headquarters Building was finished in 1985 as the third incarnation of the HSBC headquarters on the site. The building is featured on many of Hong Kong's banknotes. The building was built on the site of Hong Kong's first skyscraper, which was finished in 1935 and was the first building in Hong Kong to have centralised air conditioning. The Hong Kong Club was built atop a smaller structure that was built in an Italian Renaissance style in 1897. The building was the subject of a bitter heritage conservation struggle in the late 1970s, which ultimately failed to save the building.

One of the largest construction projects in Hong Kong has been the construction of the new Hong Kong International Airport on Chek Lap Kok near Lantau which was the most extensive single civil engineering project ever undertaken. Designed by Sir Norman Foster, the huge land reclamation project is linked to the centre of Hong Kong by three huge new bridges: Tsing Ma Suspension Bridge which was built in 1997 connects the islands of Tsing Yi and Ma Wan, smaller Kap Shui Mun Bridge which links Ma Wan and Lantau, and Ting Kau Bridge which connects Tsing Yi and the mainland New Territories.

Military

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The Hong Kong Garrison of the People's Liberation Army entering Hong Kong for the first time in 1997.
Main article: Military of Hong Kong

The Chinese Central People's Government (CPG) resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong on 1 July 1997 and stationed a garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Hong Kong to manage its defence affairs. The stationing of the PLA troops in the region is a significant symbol of the Chinese government's resumption of exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. It is also an imperative guarantee for the conservation of state sovereignty and sanctuary and the upholding of the region's long-term prosperity and stability.

The Basic Law provides that the CPG shall be responsible for the defence of Hong kong and shall bear the expenditure for the garrison. The Basic law also contains specific provisions on the duties and rules of discipline of the garrison personnel, the judicature and other questions, fundamentally guaranteeing that the Hong Kong Garrison fulfils its defense functions along legal lines. Military forces stationed in Hong Kong shall not interfere in the local affairs and the Hong Kong government shall be responsible for the maintenance of public order. The Hong Kong Garrison formally stationed in Hong Kong assumed defence responsibility for Hong Kong with effect from zero hour 1 July 1997.

The Hong Kong Garrison, composed of ground, naval, and air forces, is under the direction of the Chinese Central Military Commission. While performing its defence duties, the Hong Kong Garrison must abide by both national and Hong Kong laws, as well as the current rules and regulations of the PLA.

After its entry into Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Garrison abided by the Basic Law and the Garrison Law, actively organized military training. According to the Garrison Law, the Garrison established working contacts with the Hong Kong government, and opened the barracks on the Stonecutters Island and Chek Chu to the public to promote Hong Kongers' understanding of and trust in the garrison troops.

See also

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International rankings

References

External links

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Government

News

  • South China Morning Post (http://www.scmp.com/) - Hong Kong's leading English-language newspaper
  • The Standard (http://www.thestandard.com.hk/) - Hong Kong's leading business newspaper
  • Ming Pao News (http://www.mingpaonews.com/) - Hong Kong's largest Chinese-language newspaper
  • Metro (http://www.metrohk.com.hk/) - The Hong Kong edition of the Metro

Overviews

  • BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/country_profiles/3650337.stm) - Regions and Territories: Hong Kong
  • CIA World Factbook (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/hk.html) - Hong Kong

Directories

  • Yahoo! Hong Kong (http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/Countries/China/Provinces__Regions__and_Municipalities/Hong_Kong/) - directory category

Other

  • Hong Kong Maps (http://www.centamap.com/cent/index.htm) CentaMap
  • GeoExpat.Com (http://www.geoexpat.com/) - Online magazine, directory and forums for residents and expats in Hong Kong.


Province-level divisions administered by the People's Republic of China Missing image
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Flag of the People's Republic of China

Provinces¹: Anhui | Fujian | Gansu | Guangdong | Guizhou | Hainan | Hebei | Heilongjiang | Henan | Hubei | Hunan | Jiangsu | Jiangxi | Jilin | Liaoning | Qinghai | Shaanxi | Shandong | Shanxi | Sichuan | Yunnan | Zhejiang
Autonomous Regions: Guangxi | Inner Mongolia | Ningxia | Tibet | Xinjiang
Municipalities: Beijing | Chongqing | Shanghai | Tianjin
Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong | Macau
¹ See also: Political status of Taiwan


Countries in East Asia
China (PRC) | Japan | North Korea | South Korea | Taiwan (ROC)*
Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong | Macau
The political status of Taiwan is disputed.
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