GEOGRAPHY AND THE PEOPLE
Hong Kong lies on the south-east coast of China, adjacent to the province of Guangdong. it is composed of hundreds of small islands. However, the three primary regions are Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon peninsula, the New Territories.
The total area of Hong Kong is about 1070 km2 with 1/5 of its residents live on Hong Kong Island, 1/3 in the Kowloon Peninsula and the rest in the New Territories.
Hong Kong is a multicultural country. Majority of Hong Kong's 6 million people is of Chinese origin. The rest of the population are Filipino, American, etc.
Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with distinct seasons. In the summer months from May to August, the climate is hot and humid, with high rainfall. Typhoon is not uncommon during these few months. Temperatures range from 28øC to 33øC. In the winter months from December to March, the climate is dry and cool. Temperatures range from 16øC to 19øC.
Hong Kong, was ceded to Britain by China under the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, the Treaty of Tientsin in 1858 and the Convention of Peking in 1860.
Sovereignty over Hong Kong will be returned to China on July 1, 1997 in accordance with the Joint Declaration signed between Britain and China in 1984. Hong Kong will then become a Special Administrative Region ("SAR") of China. The Joint Declaration provides that such individual rights and freedoms as private ownership of property and enterprises and rights of inheritances, will be protected by law for fifty years.
Until July 1, 1997, Hong Kong will continue to be administered by the Hong Kong Government which is headed by the Governor. The government is served by 2 advisory bodies - the Executive Council, which advises the Governor on policy matters, and the Legislative Council, which considers new legislation. There are two municipal councils - the Urban Council and the Regional Council, which provide services of public health, recreation and cultural activities. The government is also supported by 19 District Boards which advise the government at local district level.
The basis of the legal system in Hong Kong is the English common law system supported by statutes, rules of equities and customs of the Chinese community. To prepare for the change of sovereignty in 1997, the Chinese Government, in consultation with the representatives from Hong Kong people, has promulgated the Basic Law which provides the basic policies of China towards the SAR.
The two official language of Hong Kong are Chinese and English. Although English will still be used after 1997, all official filings with the government will require Chinese translation.
The Cantonese dialect is commonly spoken in the southern region of china and the province of Canton. It is expected that Mandarin (Putonghua) will become more and more popular after 1997 as this is the official language of China.
LIVING IN HONG KONG
Housing expenses are high compared with other countries. Office rental in prime location may cost US$60 to 120 per square meter a month whereas residential flats may cost about US$40 to 50 per square meter in convenient location along the Mass Transit Railway line.
The social life of Hong Kong is fascinating with a great variety of restaurants providing foods from all parts of the world. Local products are cheap and of good quality. The cost of living excluding housing is reasonable. Inflation remained at one figure digit in the year 1995. Domestic helpers are inexpensive and readily available.
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