So, is Hong Kong SAR the same as Hongkong? The Basic Law outlines some of the main differences between the two. The fundamental law states that Hong Kong has high levels of autonomy in its political, economic, cultural, educational, and social systems. Despite the differences, the government and the people of Hong Kong are very similar. The differences are limited to a few major areas, though.
Hong Kong SAR
The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is divided into six districts, each with a council. Each section governs a different area, and its leaders advise the HKSAR Government on matters affecting the well-being of residents. The District Councils also make recommendations on the provision and use of public services and undertake environmental improvement projects. They also promote recreational activities. There are 479 seats on the District Councils, and they are elected for six years.
In both Hongkong and Macao, the Chief Executive is elected by an Election Committee comprised of labor union representatives and pro-Beijing business people. The Chief Executive Council is the body responsible for governing Hong Kong and makes final decisions on tourism policy. Several local business people are appointed to critical advisory committees and the Legislative Council. The diversity of business interests in the two jurisdictions enables these leaders to form a political consensus.
The territory of Hong Kong is officially called the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. It is situated on the eastern Pearl River Delta in South China. Located on the east edge of the Pearl River, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. This city is home to over seven million people, making it one of the world’s most densely populated areas. Founded in 1798, Hong Kong has the status of both a country and an island.
The HKSAR enjoys a diversified economy and is home to a dynamic banking sector. The regulated financial industry is highly sophisticated and efficient. Its independent finances enable it to protect the property rights of its citizens and use financial revenues for its purposes. In addition, Hong Kong SAR enacts laws independently and maintains low taxes. As a result, it has become a global financial hub. However, Hong Kong SAR must maintain a disciplined approach to its policies.
The Basic Law of Hong Kong SAR empowers the HKSAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy. While directly under the Central People’s Government, the SAR has legislative, executive, and judicial powers. It can also conduct relevant external affairs. The Central People’s Government is responsible for defense and public order in Hong Kong. However, it can delegate certain powers to local authorities. Here are a few of the most important powers vested in the HKSAR:
The legislature of the HKSAR is called the Legislative Council. The Basic Law specifies the method of forming the Legislative Council, how it will function, and the procedure for voting on bills and motions. The Legislative Council has various functions, including making laws and approving budgets and public expenditures. It also monitors the government’s work. Its operations are outlined in the Basic Law.
The basic principle of the HKSAR government is that the Chief Executive enjoys wide-ranging constitutional powers. This principle was first adopted in 1997 when Beijing’s government installed a majority of pro-government parties in the Legislative Council by default. However, the HKSAR government has struggled to maintain the executive-dominant system due to a lack of political party support and the growing polarization of the legislature and the Executive.
Following the 1996 election, the HKSAR Preparatory Committee resolved to avoid a vacuum in the legislature after the «Through Train» derailed. They decided to establish a Provisional Legislative Council on March 24, which would function until the First Legislative Council was formed. The Preparatory Committee adopted a method to elect sixty members from 130 candidates. The Provisional Legislative Council swore in the First-term Chief Executive during the resulting elections.
The Basic Law, adopted at the Third Session of the Seventh NPC, codified the basic policies of the central government toward Hong Kong. This law outlines the institutions required to implement democracy in Hong Kong. It confers constitutional powers and duties on the central government. However, the fundamental laws were not adapted from the previous British-colonial system. As a result, the political system in Hong Kong is still similar to that of the former British colony.
The government of Hong Kong SAR has pursued an ambitious public housing program, land reclamation, and infrastructure investment to alleviate poverty. New industrial towns were developed to house new immigrants, create jobs, and support the industry. The government subsidized the construction of these new towns, while public housing helped keep costs low. The government has also pursued an ambitious public education program, establishing over 300,000 new primary school places between 1954 and 1961. Over 99 percent of school-age children in Hong Kong then attended primary school. However, free universal primary schooling did not come into effect until 1971.
The fundamental law governing Hong Kong SAR defines the city as a Special Administrative Region (SAR). The Basic Law enshrined the principle of «One Country, Two Systems» and guaranteed high levels of autonomy in the HKSAR. Consequently, essential elements of Hong Kong have survived, including the capitalist economic system, accessible port, and separate customs territory. Moreover, the HKSAR enjoys tariff preferences that are unavailable to mainland China.
The climate of Hong Kong is generally temperate. It is rainy but not too humid. The rainiest months are May and June, with average daily temperatures of more than 30 degrees. However, there are dry and fine spells during these months. In September and October, the temperature is usually around 26 degrees. In July and August, temperatures may reach 35 degrees Celsius. Humidity is about 80%, which can feel like a tropical heat. However, if you plan your trip to Hong Kong in the fall, the weather remains similar to summer.
The most typical zone of the SAR is the Dispersed Mid-Rise Zone, which includes most of the urban areas. The WGL station, a specific marine site, does not fit into the LCZ scheme due to its atypical environment. The climate of Hong Kong is divided into seven distinct zones — five under the city series and five under the natural sequence. The largest group of stations is called the Dispersed Midrise Zone (BCZ9), containing six stations.
In Hong Kong, religion is widespread, with at least three hundred and sixty denominations. The Protestant community comprises more than 40 denominations, with over one hundred and forty parishes. Many indigenous sects and major international denominations have ecclesiastical branches in the city. These denominations include Adventist, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, and Pentecostal. The Catholic community is the largest, with more than 363 thousand members.
There are several different types of religion in Hong Kong. Hinduism, for example, is practiced by more than one hundred thousand people. Most of these are immigrants from India, but some are also Chinese or Southeast Asian. The Hindu community is centered in Happy Valley, where a large temple celebrates puja. Parsi Zoroastrians are also a minority in Hong Kong but have a small community of two hundred. A temple and shrine dedicated to Zoroastrian Hindus can be found in Causeway Bay.
He said the Catholics also needed an underground bishop in Hong Kong, but the Pope would disapprove. Earlier this month, a new bishop was ordained in Hong Kong, Father Stephen Chow Sau-yan S.J., after the city’s long-suffering period without a bishop. Reverend L urged leaders of Hong Kong to speak out against the erosion of freedom of religion in the city.
Trade with Mainland China
In 2020, Hong Kong’s trade with Mainland China was worth HK$1,923.5 billion (US$248.0 billion), accounting for 46.1% of the total domestic exports. Major imports included electrical machinery, telecommunications equipment, and sound recording equipment. Other vital exports included articles of clothing and metalliferous ores. But despite the significant growth in trade between Hong Kong and Mainland China, work with the territory continues to be uneven.
Hong Kong’s government and business community initiated the CEPA, a landmark free-trade agreement between Hong Kong SAR and mainland China. The HKGCC secured central government approval and obtained agreement in principle for the contract. The process took 18 months to complete. However, the benefits of the CEPA were well worth the wait. The deal opened up a plethora of opportunities for companies in the SAR.
The SAR’s economic success has primarily been based on its ability to serve as a conduit between China and the rest of the world. It has become an essential part of China’s recent economic growth. Many feared that Beijing would take over Hong Kong, but its gradual integration into China has helped the city develop a different political and economic system. Although Hong Kong may appear unappealing to some, it is a crucial part of China’s development.