Hong Kong

1 Chapter Basic Knowledge

    • a. Official Name

       There are a few theories as to the origin of the name of Hong Kong. One of the most possible is that it is an early imprecise phonetic rendering of the pronunciation of the spoken Cantonese or Hakka name meaning “Fragrant Harbour” or “Incense Harbour”. This is due to Hong Kong’s history as a place where incense was being made.

    • b. National Flag

       The flag of Hong Kong features a white, stylized, five-petal Hong Kong orchid tree (Bauhinia blakeana) flower in the center of a red field. Its design was adopted on 4 April 1990 at the Third Session of the Seventh National People's Congress. The design of the flag is enshrined in Hong Kong's Basic Law, the territory's constitutional document, and regulations regarding the use, prohibition of use, desecration, and manufacture of the flag are stated in the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance. The flag of Hong Kong was first officially hoisted on 1 July 1997, in the handover ceremony marking the transfer of sovereignty.

    • c. The Territory

       Hong Kong is located at the south-eastern tip of China. The territory covers Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories, including 262 outlying islands. Victoria Harbour, one of the world's most popular deep-water harbors is located between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula. The total area of Hong Kong is 1, 104 square kilometres and 25% of its land area is developed, of which, 40% are country parks and nature reserves.

    • d. Climate

       Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate. Its temperatures drop below 10ºC in winter and exceeding 31ºC in summer. It is warm, sunny and dry in autumn, cool and dry in winter, and hot, humid and rainy from spring to summer[1]. The average annual rainfall is 2,638.3 mm with May as the wettest month and January as the driest month[2]. Severe weather phenomena that can affect Hong Kong include tropical cyclones, strong winter and summer monsoon, monsoon troughs, and thunderstorms with associated squalls that are most frequent from April to September[3]. Waterspouts and hailstorms occur infrequently, while snow and tornadoes are rare[4].

      The government monitors and forecasts weather through the Hong Kong Observatory which issues warnings on weather-related hazards[5]. It also monitors and assesses radiation levels in Hong Kong, and provides other meteorological and geophysical services to meet the needs of the public and the shipping, aviation, industrial and engineering sectors[6].

    • e. Timezone

       Hong Kong is located at 22º 19’N/ 114 º11’E with UTC/GMT +8 hours. It does not use daylight savings time[1]. Japan is 1 hour ahead of Hong Kong in terms of time[2].


    • f. Population

       According to the statistics released by the Census and Statistics Department on February 18,2016, the provisional estimate of the Hong Kong Population was 7,324, 300 at end-2015, representing an increase of 57,700 or 0.8% from 7,266,500 at end-2014. The Hong Kong Population is measured on the definition of Resident Population, which comprises Usual Residents and Mobile Residents. Among the total population at end-2015, 7 095 100 (provisional) were Usual Residents and 229 200 (provisional) were Mobile Residents.


                    "Usual Residents" are:


      (1)  Hong Kong Permanent Residents who have stayed in Hong Kong for at least 3 months during the 6 months before or for at least 3 months during the 6 months after the reference time-point, regardless of whether they are in Hong Kong or not at the reference time-point; and

      (2)  Hong Kong Non-permanent Residents who are in Hong Kong at the reference time-point.


                    "Mobile Residents" are Hong Kong Permanent Residents who have stayed in Hong Kong for at least 1 month but less than 3 months during the 6 months before or for at least 1 month but less than 3 months during the 6 months after the reference time-point, regardless of whether they are in Hong Kong or not at the reference time-point.

    • g. Language

       Hong Kong has two official languages, Chinese and English. The Government produces important documents in both English and Chinese. Simultaneous interpretation in English/ Cantonese/ Putonghua is made available to meetings of the Legislative Council and Government boards and committees as needed.


      Under the Government's Civil Service Bureau, the Official Languages Division monitors the implementation of the language policy. It:


      1. provides translation, interpretation and editing services to Government bureaus and departments;

      2. develops the institutional arrangements for the use of official languages in the Civil Service, including setting guidelines, reviewing Civil Service language practices, and providing language advisory services to bureaus and departments;

      3. promotes the effective use of the official languages in the Civil Service by compiling reference materials and producing writing aids, providing support services, and giving input to language training programmes;

      4. monitors the use of the official languages and the implementation of the language policy in bureaus and departments; and

      5. manages and develops the Official Languages Officer, Simultaneous Interpreter and Calligraphist Grades.

    • h. Educational System

       Hong Kong has 3 main types of local schools:


      1. Government schools which are operated by the Government

      2. Aided schools which are fully assisted by the Government but run by voluntary bodies; and

      3. Private schools, some of which receive financial assistance from the Government


      Government and aided schools deliver a curriculum recommended by the government and offer free primary and secondary education.


      The education system is as follows:


      ·         Kindergarten education

      -offered to children who are 3 to 5 years old

      -schools offering kindergarten education are privately run by voluntary organizations or private bodies and are supervised by the Education Bureau


      ·         Primary education

      -offered to children starting at around the age of 6

      -6 years of schooling


      ·         Secondary education

      -Under the New Academic Structure (NAS), secondary education is for a period of 6 years: 3 years of junior secondary and 3 years of senior secondary education.

      -On completion of Secondary 6, students take the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination.


      ·         Special education

      -Under  the  prevailing  policy,  subject  to the  assessment  and  recommendation  of  the  specialists  and with parents’ consent, children with more severe or multiple disabilities are placed in special schools for intensive support. Other children with special educational deeds (SEN) may attend ordinary schools.


      ·         Post-secondary education

      -Hong  Kong  has  20  local  degree-awarding  higher  education  institutions,  eight  of  which  are funded through the UGC. Seven of the eight are universities and the remaining one is a teacher training institution.


      ·         Adult education

      -The  Education Bureau implements  the  Financial Assistance Scheme for Designated Evening Adult Education Courses  to  provide  financial  assistance  to  adult  learners attending evening secondary courses at designated centres.


      ·         Education  for  Newly  Arrived  Children  (NAC)

      -The Education Bureau provides school placement services for NAC, including NAC from the Mainland, and newly arrived non-Chinese speaking children and returnee children.


      ·         Education for  Non-Chinese  Speaking  (NCS)  Children

      -The  Government  has  put  in  place  a  series  of  education support measures to help NCS students master the Chinese language  and  integrate  into  the  community.

    • i. Currency

       The legal tender in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar (HKD). It is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of about 7.80 HKD to 1 USD, although exchange rates may fluctuate slightly. The issue of Hong Kong banknotes are shared between three commercial banks: HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of China. These notes vary in design and colour according to denomination. The Government issues coins.

    • j. Religion

       Hong Kong's Basic Law and other relevant legislation protects religious  freedom  as  one  of  the  fundamental  rights enjoyed  by  Hong  Kong  residents.   There  is a  large variety  of  religious  groups  in  the  Hong  Kong  Special Administrative  Region  (HKSAR),  including  Buddhism, Taoism,  Confucianism,  Christianity,  Islam,  Hinduism, Sikhism  and  Judaism.  These groups offer religious  instructions and many  major  religious  bodies  have established  schools  and  provided  health  and  welfare facilities.

    • a. A Brief History of the Hong Kong

        Aboriginal fishing communities established floating communities in 700 BC and the entire region was absorbed by China in 50 BC. The Hong Kong of today was born when China’s Qing dynasty government was defeated in the First Opium War in 1842, when it ceded Hong Kong Island to Britain. Within 60 years, Kowloon, the New Territories and 235 Outlying Islands were also leased to Britain. However, the history of the more than 1100 square kilometres that Hong Kong now occupies predates the events of the Qing dynasty by more than a thousand years. Refugees fleeing from political turbulence and warfare in Mainland China during the period of 1911 to 1949 increased Hong Kong's population.


      In 1984, China and Britain signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the future of Hong Kong. After 99 years of leasing Hong Kong, Britain ceded the territory and it became a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on July 1, 1997.


    • b. Legal System

       The Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong (The Joint Declaration) was signed between the Chinese and British Governments on 19 December 1984. The Joint Declaration sets out, among other things, the basic policies of the People's Republic of China (PRC) regarding Hong Kong. Under the principle of "One Country, Two Systems", the socialist system and policies shall not be practiced in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and Hong Kong's previous capitalist system and life-style shall remain unchanged for 50 years. The Joint Declaration provides that these basic policies shall be stipulated in a Basic Law of the HKSAR.


        The Basic Law consists of the following sections -


      a.             The full text of the Basic Law which comprises a total of nine chapters with 160 articles;

      b.             Annex I, which sets out the method for the selection of the Chief Executive of the HKSAR;

      c.             Annex II, which sets out the method for the formation of the Legislative Council of the HKSAR and its voting procedures; and

      d.             Annex III, which sets out the national laws to be applied in the HKSAR.


      The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (The Basic Law) was adopted on 4 April 1990 by the Seventh National People's Congress (NPC) of the PRC. It came into effect on 1 July 1997.





      i.              General Principles in the Basic Law

      ·         The HKSAR has a high degree of autonomy and enjoys executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. (BL Article 2)


      ·         The executive authorities and legislature of the HKSAR shall be composed of permanent residents of Hong Kong. (BL Article 3)


      ·         The socialist system and policies shall not be practiced in the HKSAR, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years. (BL Article 5)


      ·         The laws previously in force in Hong Kong, that is, the common law, rules of equity, ordinances, subordinate legislation and customary law shall be maintained, except for any that contravene the Basic Law and subject to any amendment by the legislature of the HKSAR. (BL Article 8)


      ii.            Relationship Between the Central Authority & the HKSAR


      ·         The Central People's Government (CPG) shall be responsible for the defense and the foreign affairs relating to the HKSAR. (BL Articles 13-14)


      ·         The CPG authorizes the HKSAR to conduct relevant external affairs on its own. (BL Article 13)


      ·         The HKSARG shall be responsible for the maintenance of public order in the Region. (BL Article 14)


      ·         National laws shall not be applied in the HKSAR except for those listed in Annex III to the Basic Law. Laws listed in Annex III shall be confined to those relating to defense and foreign affairs as well as other matters outside the limits of the autonomy of the HKSAR. The laws listed in Annex III shall be applied locally by way of promulgation or legislation by the HKSAR. (BL Article 18)


      ·         No department of the CPG and no province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government may interfere in the affairs which the HKSAR administers on its own in accordance with the Basic Law. (BL Article 22)


      iii.           Protection of Rights and Freedoms


      ·         The HKSAR shall protect the right of private ownership of property in accordance with law. (BL Article 6)


      ·         All Hong Kong residents shall be equal before the law. Permanent residents of the HKSAR shall have the right to vote and the right to stand for election in accordance with law. (BL Articles 25-26)


      ·         The freedom of the person of Hong Kong residents shall be inviolable. No Hong Kong resident shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful arrest, detention or imprisonment. Arbitrary or unlawful search of the body of any resident or deprivation or restriction of the freedom of the person shall be prohibited. Torture of any resident or arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of the life of any resident shall be prohibited. (BL Article 28)


      ·         Hong Kong residents shall have, among other things, freedom of speech, of the press and of publication; freedom of association, of assembly, of procession, of demonstration, of communication, of movement, of conscience, of religious belief, and of marriage; and the right and freedom to form and join trade unions, and to strike. (BL Articles 27-38)


      ·         The provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and international labor conventions as applied to Hong Kong shall remain in force and shall be implemented through the laws of the HKSAR. (BL Article 39)

    • c. The relationship between Hong Kong and Japan

       1.  Japan-Hong Kong Trade

      Japan is Hong Kong’s 3rd largest trading partner after mainland China and the U.S., and Hong Kong is Japan’s 8th largest trading partner. Bilateral trade in 2010 totalled 3.83 trillion yen, with Japan’s exports accounting for 3.70 trillion yen and its imports for 133 billion yen of that figure.

      Since 2007, Hong Kong has been the largest importer of Japanese food. Other major imports include telecommunications as well as sound recording apparatus and equipment. Major exports from Hong Kong to Japan include electrical machinery, appliances and parts.

      2. Investment

      According to Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department, the overall cumulative total of Japanese foreign direct investment in Hong Kong was US$29.1 billion at the end of 2014.

      3. Japanese companies in Hong Kong

      Japanese companies in Hong Kong span various industries, including transportation, financial services, electronics, and technology. Some major Japanese companies include: ANA, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Canon, Casio, Epson, Japan Airlines, Minolta, Mitsubishi and Sony.

       A more recent survey of companies with headquarters in Japan, jointly conducted by the Census and Statistics Department and Investment Hong Kong, found that 1,085 Japanese companies had set up offices in Hong Kong as at the end of 2011. And, Japanese banks are also well represented here, with 15 licensed banks maintaining branches or offices in the SAR according to data produced in 2011 by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.



      4. Economic and business cooperation

      Japan and Hong Kong alternate in hosting meetings of the Japan-Hong Kong Economic Joint Committee. (The most recent meeting was held in Tokyo on 5th February 2010. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for business representatives from Hong Kong and Japan to meet, exchange views and discuss potential economic exchanges. The principal organizers on each side are the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

      5. Japanese Residents and Visitors

      Over 21,000 Japanese citizens resided in Hong Kong in 2011. In 2010, 1,316,618 Japanese visitors travelled to Hong Kong, while 508,691 people from Hong Kong visited Japan.


      6. Education

      Over 35,000 people in Hong Kong are currently learning Japanese, while the number of Hong Kong students studying at Japanese universities is also rising. The Japanese International School in Tai Po offers education not only to Japanese pupils, but to children of all nationalities in Hong Kong.