Hong Kong – People’s Republic of China (PRC), Asia
Hong Kong is one of two specialadministrative regions (SARs) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), theother being Macau.A city-statesituated on China’s southcoast and enclosed by the PearlRiver Delta and South China Sea,[ it is renowned for its expansive skylineand deep natural harbour. With a land mass of 1,104 km2(426 sq mi) and a population of seven million people, Hong Kong isone of the most denselypopulated areas in the world. Hong Kong’spopulation is 95 percent ethnic Chinese and 5 percent from othergroups. Hong Kong’s Han Chinese majority originate mainly from the citiesof Guangzhouand Taishan inthe neighbouring Guangdong province.
Hong Kong became a colony of the BritishEmpire after the First Opium War (1839–42). Originally confined to HongKong Island, the colony’s boundaries were extended in stages to the KowloonPeninsula in 1860 and then the NewTerritories in 1898. It was occupied by Japan during the Pacific War,after which the British resumed control until 1997, when China resumed sovereignty. Theregion espoused minimum government intervention under the ethos of positive non-interventionism duringthe colonial era. The time period greatly influenced the current culture of Hong Kong, often described as”East meets West”,and the educational system, which used to looselyfollow the system in Englanduntil reforms implemented in 2009.
Under the principle of “one country, two systems”, Hong Konghas a different political system from mainlandChina. Hong Kong’s independent judiciary functions under the common lawframework. The Basic Law of Hong Kong, its constitutionaldocument, which stipulates that Hong Kongshall have a “high degree of autonomy” in all matters except foreignrelations and military defence, governs its political system. Although it has aburgeoning multi-party system, a small-circle electoratecontrols half of its legislature. An 800-person Election Committee selects the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, the headof government.
As one of the world’s leading international financial centres,Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterised by low taxationand free trade, and the currency, HongKong dollar, is the eighth most traded currency in the world.The lack of space caused demand for denser constructions, which developed thecity to a centre for modern architecture and the world’s mostvertical city. The dense space also led to a highly developed transportation network with public transporttravelling rate exceeding 90 percent, the highest in the world. Hong Kong has numerous high internationalrankings in various aspects. For instance, its economic freedom, financial and economiccompetitiveness, quality of life, corruption perception, Human Development Index, etc., are allranked highly.
HongKong is located on China’s south coast, 60 km (37 mi) east of Macau on the oppositeside of the Pearl River Delta. It is surrounded by the SouthChina Sea on the east, south, and west, and borders the Guangdong city ofShenzhen to the north over the Shenzhen River. The territory’s 1,104 km2(426 sq mi) area consists of HongKong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the NewTerritories, and over 200 offshore islands, of which the largest is LantauIsland. Of the total area, 1,054 km2 (407 sq mi)is land and 50 km2 (19 sq mi) is inland water. HongKong claims territorial waters to a distance of 3 nautical miles(5.6 km). Its land area makes Hong Kong the 179th largestinhabited territory in the world.
HongKong is frequently described as a place where “East meets West”,reflecting the culture’s mix of the territory’s Chinese roots with influencesfrom its time as a British colony. Hong Kong balances a modernised way of lifewith traditional Chinese practices. Concepts like feng shuiare taken very seriously, with expensive construction projects often hiringexpert consultants, and are often believed to make or break a business. Otherobjects like Bagua mirrors are still regularly used to deflect evil spirits, and buildingsoften lack any floor number that has a 4 in it, due to itssimilarity to the word for “die” in Cantonese. The fusion of east andwest also characterises Hong Kong’s cuisine, where dim sum, hot pot, and fast foodrestaurants coexist with haute cuisine.
Hong Kong‘s transportation network ishighly developed. Over 90% of daily travels (11 million) are on publictransport, the highest such percentage in the world. Payment can be made usingthe Octopuscard, a stored value system introduced by the Mass Transit Railway (MTR),which is widely accepted on railways, buses and ferries, and accepted like cashat other outlets.
The city’s main railway company (MTR) was merged with theurban mass transit operator (KCRC) in 2007, creating acomprehensive rail network for the whole territory (also called MTR). This MTR rapidtransit system has 152 stations, which serve 3.4 million people a day. Hong Kong Tramways, which has served theterritory since 1904, covers the northern parts of Hong Kong Island.