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Occupied by the UK in 1841, Hong Kong was formally ceded by China the following year; various adjacent lands were added later in the 19th century. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and the UK on 19 December 1984, Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. In this agreement, China promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system would not be imposed on Hong Kong and that Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.


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Country name
Conventional long form
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Conventional short form Hong Kong
Official long form Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu
Official short form Xianggang
Abbreviation HK

Dependency status
Special administrative region of China

Government type
Limited democracy

Administrative divisions
None (special administrative region of China)

None (special administrative region of China)

The Basic Law, approved March 1990 by China's National People's Congress, is Hong Kong's charter

Legal system
Mixed legal system of common law based on the English model and Chinese customary law (in matters of family and land tenure)

18 years of age in direct elections for half the legislature and a majority of seats in 18 district councils; universal for permanent residents living in the territory of Hong Kong for the past seven years; note - in indirect elections, suffrage is limited to about 220,000 members of functional constituencies for the other half of the legislature and an 1,200-member election committee for the chief executive drawn from broad sectoral groupings, central government bodies, municipal organizations, and elected Hong Kong officials

Executive branch
Chief of state
President of China HU Jintao (since 15 March 2003)
Head of government
Chief Executive LEUNG Chun-ying (since 1 July 2012)
Executive Council or ExCo consists of 15 official members and 14 non-official members
Chief executive elected for five-year term by a 800-member electoral committee; the election of Donald TSANG was held on 25 March 2007; on 25 March 2012 LEUNG Chun-ying [C.Y.LEUNG] was elected chief executive by a 1,193-member electoral committee; he will take office on 1 July 2012; (next election to be held in March 2017)
The Legislative Council voted in June 2010 to expand the electoral committee to 1,200 seats for the 2012 election
Election results
LEUNG Chun-ying was elected with 689 votes; Henry TANG received 285 votes, and Albert HO received 76 of the 1,132 votes cast; 82 ballots were deemed invalid most were blank

Legislative branch
Unicameral Legislative Council or LegCo (60 seats; 30 members indirectly elected by functional constituencies, 30 elected by popular vote; members serve four-year terms)
The LegCo voted in June 2010 to expand to 70 seats for the 2012 election; the measure was approved by the National People's Congress Standing Committee in August 2010; the 10 new seats will be elected by popular vote
Last held on 7 September 2008 (next to be held on 9 September 2012)
Election results
Percent of vote by block - pro-democracy 57%; pro-Beijing 40%, independent 3%; seats by parties - (pro-Beijing 35) DAB 13, Liberal Party 7, FTU 1, others 14; (pro-democracy 23) Democratic Party 8, Civic Party 5, CTU 3, League of Social Democrats 3, ADPL 2, The Frontier 1, NWSC 1; others 11; independents 2

Judicial branch
Court of Final Appeal, High Court (Court of Appeal and the Court of the First Instance), district courts, magistrates' courts, and other special courts

Political parties and leaders
Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood or ADPL [LIU Sung Lee]; Civic Party [LEONG Ka-kit]; Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong or DAB [TAM Yiu Cheng]; Democratic Party [Albert HO Chun-yan]; Labor Party [LEE Cheuk-yan]; League of Social Democrats or LSD [LEONG Kwok-hung]; Liberal Party [Miriam LAU Kin-yee]; New People's Party [Regina IP Lau Su-yee]; People Power [Raymond WONG Yuk-man]; The Frontier (disbanded)
Confederation of Trade Unions or CTU; Federation of Trade Unions or FTU; Neighborhood and Workers Service Center or NWSC
Political blocs include: pro-democracy - ADPL, Civic Party, Democratic Party, League of Social Democrats, People Power; pro-Beijing - DAB, Liberal Party, New People's Party, The Professional Forum (an informal group of three generally pro-government and pro-business LegCo members from functional constituencies and one independent elected from a geographic constituency), and Economic Synergy; there is no political party ordinance, so there are no registered political parties; politically active groups register as societies or companies

Political pressure groups and leaders
Chinese General Chamber of Commerce (pro-China); Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong; Confederation of Trade Unions or CTU (pro-democracy) [LEE Cheuk-yan, general secretary]; Federation of Hong Kong Industries; Federation of Trade Unions or FTU (pro-China) [CHENG Yiu-tong, executive councilor]; Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China [LEE Cheuk-yan, chairman]; Hong Kong and Kowloon Trade Union Council (pro-Taiwan); Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce; Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union [FUNG Wai-wah, president]; Neighborhood and Workers' Service Center or NWSC [LEUNG Yiu-chung, LegCo member] (pro-democracy); Civic Act-up [Cyd HO Sau-lan, LegCo member] (pro-democracy)

International organization participation
ADB, APEC, BIS, FATF, ICC, IHO, IMF, IMO (associate), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITUC, UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the us
None (special administrative region of China); Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) carries out normal liaison and communication with the US Government and other US entities
Representative Donald TONG
1520 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
Telephone [1] 202 331-8947
FAX [1] 202 331-0318
HKETO offices New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission
Consul General Stephen M. YOUNG
Consulate(s) general 26 Garden Road, Hong Kong
Mailing address
PSC 461, Box 1, FPO AP 96521-0006
Telephone [852] 2523-9011
FAX [852] 2845-1598

Flag description
Red with a stylized, white, five-petal Bauhinia flower in the center; each petal contains a small, red, five-pointed star in its middle; the red color is the same as that on the Chinese flag and represents the motherland; the fragrant Bauhinia - developed in Hong Kong the late 19th century - has come to symbolize the region; the five stars echo those on the flag of China

National symbol(s)
Orchid tree flower

National anthem
As a Special Administrative Region of China, "Yiyonggjun Jinxingqu" is the official anthem (see China)


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Hai Wan Hong Kong (general)

Tong Chai Wan Hong Kong (general)

Leng Pei Tsuen Hong Kong (general)

Hang Mei Tsuen Hong Kong (general)

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Hok Tsui Hong Kong (general)

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