A special administrative region of the country with significant
autonomy. From 1842 to 1997, it was under the control of the UK,
which made Hong Kong one of the largest financial centers in Asia
and in the world.
Hong Kong Island is the place where the colony of the British Empire was founded. Most of the population lives in the northern part of the island. Due to the scarcity of land, the metropolitan area's tallest skyscrapers are located here, including the famous row of skyscrapers along Victoria Harbour. Also in the northern part of the island are: the financial center of the city, administrative buildings, main retail outlets and the main nightclubs of the city. The southern regions are less populated and more favorable for living. There are picturesque beaches and luxurious houses where the richest inhabitants of the island live. Generally speaking, Hong Kong Island is the wealthiest area of the metropolitan area and is more westernized than other parts of Hong Kong.
Kowloon is a peninsula that protrudes south of the continent towards Hong Kong Island. Once the most densely populated area in the world, this area is home to the majority of Hong Kong's population. At the moment, Kowloon is a chaotic hodgepodge of galleries, markets, and apartment buildings. Nathan Road is the "core" of the area and has long been known as the "Miracle Mile" (Miracle Mile) because of the close row of skyscrapers, shops, hotels, large crowds of people and a large number of neon signs. In Chinese, "Kowloon" means "nine dragons", which represent the eight hills that are visible as long as the built skyscrapers blocked the view. The ninth dragon, according to local legend, was a boy emperor who counted these hills.
New Territories - The name "New Territories" comes from the name given by the British Government, which leased these lands from China in 1898. There are small farms, towns, industrial areas, mountainous parks, and several settlements with a population comparable to the city. Most of the New Territories are occupied by villages, in stark contrast to the over-urbanized Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
The Outlying Islands are another 234 islands of Hong Kong, including both densely populated islands and just rocks protruding from the water. The reclaimed land north of Lantau Island is home to the Hong Kong International Airport.
Lantau is the largest of the Outlying Islands, twice the size of Hong Kong Island.
Hong Kong Island: Mun Mo Temple, built in the first
half of the 1st century (photos without flash and tripod are welcome,
subject to respect for the territory). At the ferry station is the
Maritime Museum. One and a half kilometers from the coast is Victoria
Peak, recommended to all tourists; you can enjoy beautiful views just by
driving up to the top on bus 15 (from the ferry station). From the ferry
station and from the Admiralty there are buses to Ocean Park (a view of
Disneyland, in fact). In general, the area of the ferry station,
Central, is recommended for viewing; hieroglyphs, double-decker buses
and trams, gaps between skyscrapers, the most expensive building in the
world (the Hong Kong Bank building, a skyscraper without a central
Kowloon: Space Museum, Avenue of Stars with a monument to Bruce Lee. From the ferry station you can take a sightseeing tour of the bay. It is good to watch the (free) laser show from the Avenue of Stars, which starts every evening at 8 o'clock and lasts about 10 minutes.
In 1860, after the defeat of China (the Qing Empire) in the Second
Opium War, the territories of the Kowloon Peninsula south of Boundary
Street and Stonecutting Island were transferred to the perpetual
possession of Great Britain under the Treaty of Peking. In 1898, Great
Britain leased from China for 99 years the adjacent territory in the
north of the Kowloon Peninsula and Lantau Island, which were called the
The date of the transfer of Hong Kong to the PRC was fixed by the Joint Sino-British Declaration on the Transfer of Hong Kong, signed after long negotiations, called the "war of words" in Beijing on December 19, 1984.
In 1997, the territory of Hong Kong was officially returned to the People's Republic of China.
In 2019-2020, Hong Kong was overwhelmed by a new wave of mass protests against the growing influence of Beijing in the autonomous region and the adoption of decisions that restrict the civil liberties of its inhabitants. These speeches often resulted in street riots and were accompanied by clashes with the police. In May 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress that Hong Kong no longer enjoys a high degree of autonomy from China and that such a situation could result in the loss of Hong Kong's special trading status with the US and jeopardize its status as an international financial center. On June 30, 2020, despite massive protests from Hong Kong residents, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed the Hong Kong National Security Law, which drastically reduced Hong Kong's level of political autonomy from mainland China.
The climate of Hong Kong is subtropical monsoonal (Cwa according to
the Köppen classification). It is characterized by a cool dry season
which lasts from December to March and a hot and muggy rainy season
which lasts from April to November.
During the dry season, cool air blows from the mainland, bringing dry, sunny weather. Serious cold snaps can sometimes occur for the tropics, with a deep penetration of cold air from the north. Precipitation during this period is rare.
During the rainy season, moist air blows from the Pacific Ocean, bringing heavy rainfall. The temperature in Hong Kong rarely exceeds 33°C, but the humidity is close to saturation, making the weather unbearable and extremely stuffy. The amount of precipitation can reach almost 500 mm per month. In some years, tropical cyclones (typhoons) can pass through Hong Kong. A tropical forest can grow in such a climate.
Geologically, the land beneath Hong Kong has been stable for millions of years, but landslides can occur after heavy rains. The flora and fauna of Hong Kong have undergone major changes due to climate change, sea level and human influence.
The Hong Kong Observatory is a government agency responsible for meteorological forecasts, weather warnings and geophysical surveys of Hong Kong.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Hong Kong is 38°C and the lowest is -4°C. At the same time, the highest and lowest temperatures recorded by the Hong Kong Observatory are respectively 36.1°C on August 19, 1900 and August 18, 1990, and 0.0°C on January 18, 1893. The average temperature of the coldest month, January, is 16.1°C, while the average temperature of the hottest month, July, is 28.7°C.
Hong Kong is located just south of the Tropic of Cancer, being close in latitude to such cities as Havana, Mecca, Calcutta.
In 1997, the Asian financial crisis of 1997 had a serious negative
impact on the Hong Kong economy, which hit many East Asian markets. In
the same year, the first human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza
virus was recorded in Hong Kong. In 1998, after six years of
construction, the new Hong Kong International Airport was opened as part
of the Central Airport Construction Program. This project was part of an
ambitious port and airport development strategy drawn up in the early
In the first half of 2003, an epidemic of the SARS virus broke out in Hong Kong. Dong Jianhua, Chief Executive of Hong Kong (1997-2005), was criticized and accused of making mistakes in overcoming the 1997 Asian financial crisis and not taking proper measures in the fight against SARS. In the same 2003, the Dong Jianhua administration tried to pass Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, which made it possible to violate the rights and freedoms of Hong Kongers. As a result of half a million protest demonstrations, the administration was forced to abandon these plans. In 2004, during the same mass demonstrations, the people of Hong Kong demanded the introduction in 2007 of the general election of the head of the SAR. In March 2005, at the request of the Chinese leadership, Dong Jianhua resigned. Immediately after the resignation of Dong Jianhua, this place was taken by his deputy Donald Tsang. On March 25, 2007, Donald Tsang was re-elected for a second term.
According to the Basic Law, which acts as the constitution of the
Hong Kong SAR, local authorities retain sovereignty over all matters and
affairs of the territory, with the exception of defense and foreign
policy. While Hong Kong was a colony, its governor was appointed by the
British monarch. After the return of this territory under the
jurisdiction of China, it is headed by the Chief Minister of the
Administration of Hong Kong. He is elected by the Hong Kong Chief
Minister's Election Committee, which consists of 800 people who
represent Hong Kong's business elite. All other civil servants in both
the executive and legislative branches are either appointed by the Chief
Minister of Administration (directly or indirectly) or elected by the
electorate. In theory, such an agreement should guarantee the almost
complete independence of Hong Kong's political, cultural, legislative
and economic infrastructure from mainland China, but despite everything,
in practice Beijing is often accused of excessive interference in the
internal affairs of Hong Kong, crossing the boundaries defined by the
In order for the new law to come into force, it must be supported by the Chief Minister and a majority of the 60 deputies of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong. Half of the deputies of the Legislative Assembly are elected by universal suffrage (the so-called "geographical districts", that is, the population, divided on a territorial basis), and the other half - from "functional districts", that is, groups of individuals and organizations, divided by professional (functional) sign (that is, lawyers and law firms elect their deputy, financial groups and financiers their own, etc.). These groups represent the most significant areas of Hong Kong's life and economy. According to the Basic Law, in the future, all deputies of the Legislative Assembly will have to be elected through universal suffrage.
Local administration elections
Since June 16, 2005, Donald Tsang has been the Chief Minister of the Administration of Hong Kong. He was elected by a committee of electors appointed by Beijing from among the Hong Kong business elite. Prior to the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, Donald Tsang served as the Chief Secretary of the Hong Kong Administration in the colonial government. On June 24, 2005, he officially assumed his current position. On it, he replaced Dong Jianhua, who resigned early due to health reasons (according to other sources, as a result of public pressure), so first Donald Tsang had to “finish” his term for Dong, ending on June 30, 2007, according to the interpretation of the Appendix I and Article No. 46 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong.
The election of a new Chief Minister by the 852-seat Electoral Committee was to take place on July 10, 2005, but already on June 16, Donald Tsang was declared the winner, as he was the only candidate to be nominated by the required 100 members of the Electoral Committee. The first Chief Minister of Hong Kong was the billionaire Dong Jianhua, who was nominated by the Chinese authorities. He was elected by a committee of 400 electors, on July 1, 1997, he officially took office. In July 2002, his first five-year term expired and he was also automatically re-elected as the only nominated candidate. This gave rise to critics to say that the committee did not elect, but in fact twice appointed Beijing's candidacy.
In 1996, the Provisional Legislative Assembly of Hong Kong was formed in the PRC, and after the transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997, it moved to Hong Kong. The Provisional Assembly repealed several laws passed by the popularly elected colonial Legislative Assembly in 1995. The Provisional Assembly passed a number of laws, including the Public Order Act, which required police permission to hold any event with more than 30 participants. Elections for the Hong Kong Legislative Assembly were held on 24 May 1998, 10 September 2000 and 12 September 2004. According to the Basic Law, in the Legislative Assembly of this third convocation, 25 seats are assigned to deputies from geographical districts and 30 seats from functional districts. Despite the dissatisfaction of the democratic opposition with the system of functional constituencies, which entitles a very small number of voters (just over 100 thousand) to elect half of the deputies of parliament, the elections held in 1998, 2000 and 2004 were assessed by observers as free and open.
Following the colonial tradition, Hong Kong's government institutions maintain their neutrality and high quality, operating without the overt interference of Beijing. Many government buildings are located in the Central area of Hong Kong Island, close to the historical site of the city of Victoria, the site of the original location of the British settlements.
In 1999, controversy over the right to reside in Hong Kong erupted in Hong Kong, while the controversy over Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong became the main topic of political life in Hong Kong in 2002 and 2003, culminating on July 1, 2003 in half a million demonstration. Despite this, the government continued to try to push the law through the Legislative Assembly. However, one of the main pro-government parties refused to vote for the law. Realizing that the law could not be adopted, the government shelved its draft, generated by Article 23. By the end of 2003 and into 2004, the main topic of controversy was the issue of general elections, the demands for which became the main slogan of the mass demonstrations on July 1, 2004.
On September 24, 2005, 25 members of the Hong Kong Legislative Assembly of democratic views, some of whom were declared traitors by Beijing after their criticism of Beijing's actions during the suppression of student demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, went to Hong Kong's neighboring province of Guangdong, accepting an unprecedented invitation from the authorities China. The invitation was hailed as the most significant act of goodwill towards Hong Kong's democratic forces since the events in Tiananmen Square.
On December 4, 2005, the Civil Rights Front and Democrats organized a demonstration whose main demand was that the timing of the introduction of general elections be included in the political reform proposals for the 2007 and 2008 Chief Minister and Legislative Assembly elections, respectively. According to the police, 63,000 people took part in the demonstration, the organizers reported at least 250,000. According to these proposals, the electoral committee would double in size (from 800 to 1600 members), and the members of the Legislative Assembly would increase by 10 (5 each from geographical and from functional districts). On December 22, 2005, the reforms proposed by the Chief Minister of the Administration of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang, due to the position of the democratic camp, failed to gain the required two-thirds of the vote, receiving 34 votes in favor and 24 against. After the defeat, China and the Chief Minister made it clear that reforms were not possible before the 2012 elections. At the same time, the vote had little effect on Tsang's popularity: his level of support fell from only 82 to 79%.
The new Chief Minister of Administration Liang Zhenying, who received 689 out of 1132 votes in the elections on March 25, 2012, took office on July 1 of the same year, celebrating the 15th anniversary of the return of the former British colony to Chinese jurisdiction (July 1, 1997). The term of office of the 4th head of Hong Kong's administration is from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2017. According to the Basic Law of the People's Republic of China on the Hong Kong SAR, a candidate for the post of head of the administration of the SAR is put forward on the spot through elections or consultations, the official appointment is made by the central government of the PRC.
Despite the fact that Hong Kong is not an independent state, it enjoys the right of independent membership in such international organizations and events as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or the Olympic Games, but after 1997 the official name of its delegations was changed to "Hong Kong, China". Hong Kong also participates in some international events by including its delegate in the group of representatives of the People's Republic of China.
On March 25, 2012, the election of the head of the administration was won by Liang Zhenying.
At the end of September 2014, mass protests began in Hong Kong against the attempt of the Chinese central government to prevent free elections in the former colony of England in 2017. The protests were called the Umbrella Revolution.
In 2019, there were massive protests in Hong Kong against an extradition bill proposed by the government. As a result of the protests, the bill was withdrawn, and the head of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, apologized to the public.