Exclusive: Modern Hong Kong “One country, two systems” (pics)

By Muyiwa Olayinka

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The beautiful skyline of Hong Kong

Hong Kong, a country that has a peculiar history. A very rich country that has been administratively controlled by the British, Japanese and the Chinese.

Hong Kong is an autonomous territory, and former British colony, in south-eastern China. Its vibrant, densely populated urban centre is a major port and global financial hub with a skyscraper-studded skyline

It is officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and  an autonomous territory on the Pearl River Delta of China.

British Hong Kong

Hong Kong Island was ceded to Great Britain by the Qing dynasty of China after the First Anglo-Chinese War (1839–42). It was under British Crown rule from 1841 to 1997.

Japanese Hong Kong

It began during second world war when the British surrendered the colony of Hong Kong to the invading Japanese forces on 25 December 1941.

The surrender occurred after 18 days of fierce fighting against the overwhelming Japanese forces that had invaded the territory.  The occupation lasted for three years and eight months until Japan surrendered at the end of Second World War.

Chinese Hong Kong

On July 1, 1997, Hong Jong officially became a part of China again after more than 150 years of British rule.

The elaborate handover, completed 20 years ago, marked for many the unofficial end of the British Empire.

London held on to Hong Kong far longer than most of its other colonies as it waited for a 99-year lease, signed in 1898, to expire.

The handover was made on the understanding that communist China would leave Hong Kong’s capitalist, democratic system intact for 50 years under the principle of “one country, two systems”.

Hong Kong 20 yrs after hand over

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20 years ago the lowering of the British flag giving way to the Chinese’s flag

Hong Kong has seen rapid changes in the 20 years under Chinese rule. The city’s government, along with Chinese officials, have pushed for closer links with the mainland through massive infrastructure projects, changes in education and deeper business ties.

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Prince Charles at the handing over ceremony 20 yrs ago

Like much of the world, Hong Kong has also become increasingly politically polarised, with nearly every event seen to harbour a hidden agenda for one side or the other. The two main camps are the pro-Beijing faction which toes the Communist party line and the pro-democracy side that favours greater autonomy for Hong Kong.

The 20th anniversary of the handover is no different, on July 1st 2017, with pro-Beijing activists, many of them paid and bussed in, set to celebrate the occasion. At the same time, pro-democracy advocates plan to stage a protest march, a yearly act of defiance against the Chinese leadership.

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L-R: Hong Kong’s Lam and China’s Xi Jinping at the anniversary

Chinese President, Xi Jinping arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday 29th June 2017, his first visit since he became the head of government of China, ahead of the 20th anniversary celebration on Saturday July 1st.

Xi said the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from the United Kingdom to China on July 1 is a huge event “for the country, and for Hong Kong.”

A major reason for the relative calm is that former “Umbrella Movement” leaders and pro capitalist supporters, Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and other activists are languishing in police custody after they were arrested Wednesday night.

The pair were arrested with two dozen others after they occupied Golden Bauhinia Square, where an official flag raising ceremony  will take place.

Economy of Hong Kong

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The Head of government of Hong Kong is called Chief Executive. Her name is Carrie Lam

Hong Kong is one of the world’s leading international financial centres, Hong Kong’s service-oriented economy is characterized by its low taxation, almost free port trade and well established international financial market.

Hong Kong has had the highest degree of economic freedom in the world since the inception of the Index in 1995. Its economy is governed under positive non-interventionism, and is highly dependent on international trade and finance.

The Hong Kong stock exchange is a favourable destination for international firms and firms from the mainland China to be listed due to Hong Kong’s highly internationalised and modernised financial industry along with its capital market in Asia, its size, regulations and available financial tools, which are comparable to London and New York.

Hong Kong is the seventh largest port in the world and second only to New York  in terms of container throughput. Hong Kong is a full Member of World Trade Organization.

The Hong Kong Island skyline is one of the most spectacular cityscapes in the world. New York may boast more skyscrapers but Hong Kong’s are more compact and dramatic when viewed from  across the water in Kowloon, over Victoria Harbour.  Hong Kong is ranked as the 19th most prosperous region in the world.

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