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Hong Kong

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After 156 years of British control, the bustling harbor-town territory of Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997.

While communist China has promised to maintain Hong Kong's free-market and legal systems for 50 years, it has already dismantled its legislature, appointing its own instead, and worked to restrict political activities.

The British seized Hong Kong in 1841 after the Opium Wars, which forced China to allow the sale of the drug to finance British purchases of Chinese silk and tea.

Although Hong Kong has adopted many British practices, including the English language, 98 percent of the population is Chinese, and the primary language is Cantonese.

Hong Kong's hills offer stunning views of its famous harbor and soaring skyscrapers.

Size : 1,040 sq. km
Location : Eastern Asia
Population : 6.3 million
Government : Chinese Territory
Flag :

Languages Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), English
Major Religions Eclectic mix of the world's major religions.
Ethnic groups Chinese 98%, other 2%
Growth rate 1.77%
Birth rate 10.5 births/1,000
Death rate 5.23 deaths/1,000
Fertility rate 1.3 children/woman
Male life expectancy 78
Female life expectancy 85
Infant mortality rate 5.1 deaths/1,000 live births


Labor force 2.9 million (1994)
Unemployment rate 3.5% (1995)
Inflation Rate 8.4% (1995)
Gross domestic product (total value of goods and services produced annually) $152.4 billion (1995 est.)
Budget $14.1 billion
Debt N/A
Exports $177.1 billion, primarily clothing, textiles, yarn and fabric, footwear, electrical appliances, watches and clocks, toys
Imports $195.4 billion, primarily foodstuffs, transport equipment, raw materials, semimanufactures, petroleum; a large share is re-exported
Defense spending N/A
Highways 1,661 km (1994)

Source: 1996 CIA World Factbook


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