Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hong Kong

Hong Kong香港,  is an autonomous territory but part of China.  It is officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Peoples's Republic of China, 中華人民共和國香港特別行政區.  It borders the Chinese province of Guangdong and is 60 km (37 miles) from Macau.

It is about six times bigger than Washington, DC, and is home to well over 7,3 million people making it the 4th most densely populated territory in the world.

Hong Kong was occupied by the United Kingdom in 1841 after the First Opium War and later became a British colony.  The British were given a 99 year lease which China did not renew.  It was officially handed back over to China on 1 July 1997.  This is when it became a Special Administrative Region.  As part of China's "one country, two systems" policy, Hong Kong is to continue having  a high level of autonomy for 50 years which will end in 2047.

Hong Kong has its own government, legal system, police force, immigration policy, postal system, languages, national sports teams and money.  While able to be a part of other international organisations, such as the World Trade Organisation, it is not part of the United Nations.  China is responsible for all diplomatic relations and defence.  The People's Liberation Army is stationed in Hong Kong but it is not allowed to interfere in local affairs.

Hong Kong competes under its own flag in the Olympics.  It even competed under its own flag in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

HK$ 100 printed by HSBC
Hong Kong is one of the world's leading financial centres.  The money used is the Hong Kong Dollar which is the world's 13th most traded currency.  Like Scotland, clearing banks issue their own banknotes so they can differ depending on which bank printed them.

On the mainland, Mandarin Chinese is the official language while the official languages in Hong Kong are English and Cantonese.  China uses the simplified script and Hong Kong (and Macau) use the traditional script.  Mandarin and Cantonese can pretty much understand each other in writing but not when speaking.    


Which such a densely populated area the building all need to be quite tall.  Hong Kong is the world leader in skyscrapers.

Flag of British Hong Kong from 1959 - 1997
I always wanted to visit Hong Kong before the British gave it back in 1997 but that never happened.  Well better late than never.  I'm finally going to back it in 2016.  Just a four day visit in November on  the way back from visiting Natalie in New Zealand.

Here's a short video about Hong Kong that I found out on YouTube.

video
©NBC News

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