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Hong Kong General Information

Figure and Statistics of Hong Kong

Land area: 382 sq mi (989 sq km); total area: 422 sq mi (1,092 sq km)

Population (2008 est.): 7,018,636 (growth rate: 0.5%); birth rate: 7.3/1000; infant mortality rate: 2.9/1000; life expectancy: 81.7; density per sq mi: 6,735

National Holiday: National Day, October 1

Status: Special Administrative Region of China

Chief Executive: Leung Chun-ying (2012)

Hong Kong consists of the island of Hong Kong (32 sq mi; 83 sq km), Stonecutters’ Island, Kowloon Peninsula, and also the New Territories around the adjoining mainland. The island of Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1841. Stonecutters’ Island and Kowloon were annexed in 1860, and also the New Territories, which are largely agricultural lands, were leased from China in 1898 for 99 years. On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was returned to China. The vivacious capitalist enclave keeps its status as a free port, with its regulations to remain unchanged for 50 years. Its first chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, developed a policy agenda on the basis of the theory of “one nation, two systems,” thus sustaining Hong Kong’s economic independence.

In some massive demonstrations in July 2003, more than 500,000 people took to the streets of Hong-kong to protest proposed antisubversion laws that curtailed civil-rights. Surprisingly, Tung Chee-hwa scrapped the law in September. China rapidly moved to stifle the democracy movement, after prodemocracy parties handed pro-China a shocking defeat to parties in November elections. In April 2004, Beijing officials postponed indefinitely the growth of the number of popularly elected legislators. Hundreds of thousands protested. Prodemocracy candidates took about 60% of the popular vote in Sept. 2004 elections, but Beijing’s legislative system granted them just 40% of the seats inside the legislature.

Donald Tsang, together with the support of Beijing, was overwhelmingly reelected as chief executive in March 2007. Tsang was challenged by Alan Leong, the former leader of the Hong-kong Bar Association and an advocate for voting rights in Hong Kong.

Read more: Hong Kong: History, Geography, Government, and Culture —

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