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Hong Kong Government
 
 
 

General

In accordance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and the underlying principle of one country, two systems, Hong Kong has a "high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region in all areas except defence and foreign affairs." The declaration stipulates that the region maintain its capitalist economic system and guarantees the rights and freedoms of its people for at least 50 years beyond the 1997 handover. The guarantees over the territory's autonomy and the individual rights and freedoms are enshrined in a constitution, the Hong Kong Basic Law, which outlines the system of governance of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, but which is subject to the interpretation of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC).

The Chief Executive is the head of the special administrative region, and is also the highest ranking official in the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and is the head of the executive branch. The Chief Executive is elected by a 1,200-member Election Committee drawn mostly from the voters in the functional constituencies but also from religious organisations and municipal and central government bodies. The Executive Council is entirely appointed by the Chief Executive.

In accordance with Article 26 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, permanent residents of Hong Kong are eligible to vote in direct elections for the 30 seats representing geographical constituencies in the 60-seat, unicameral Legislative Council (LegCo). The franchise for the other 30 seats is limited to about 180,000 voters in functional constituencies (composed of business and professional sectors).

Hong Kong's legal system is completely independent from the legal system of mainland China. In contrast to mainland China's civil law system, Hong Kong continues to follow the English Common Law tradition established under British rule. Hong Kong's courts may refer to decisions rendered by courts of other common law jurisdictions as precedents, and judges from other common law jurisdictions are allowed to sit as non-permanent judges of the Court of Final Appeal.

Structurally, the court system consists of the Court of Final Appeal, the High Court, which is made up of the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance, and the District Court, which includes the Family Court. Other adjudicative bodies include the Lands Tribunal, the Magistrates' Courts, the Juvenile Court, the Coroner's Court, the Labour Tribunal, the Small Claims Tribunal, and the Obscene Articles Tribunal. Justices of the Court of Final Appeal are appointed by Hong Kong's Chief Executive.

Overview

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)
Independence : none (special administrative region of China)
National holiday : National Day (Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China), 1 October (1949); note - 1 July 1997 is celebrated as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day
Constitution : 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)
Suffrage : 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 Donald TSANG Yam-kuen (since 24 June 2005)
cabinet: Executive Council or ExCo consists of 15 official members and 14 non-official members
elections: 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
note: the Legislative Council voted in June 2010 to expand the electoral committee to 1,200 seats for the 2012 election
election results: Donald TSANG elected chief executive in 2007 receiving 84.1% of the vote of the election committee; Alan LEONG Kah-kit received 15.9%; in 2012 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)
note: 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
elections: last held on 7 September 2008 (next to be held in 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

: parties: 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]; Labour 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)
others: Confederation of Trade Unions or CTU; Federation of Trade Unions or FTU; Neighbourhood and Workers Service Centre or NWSC
note: 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 councillor]; 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]; Neighbourhood and Workers' Service Centre or NWSC [LEUNG Yiu-chung, LegCo member] (pro-democracy); Civic Act-up [Cyd HO Sau-lan, LegCo member] (pro-democracy)
International organisation participation
: ADB, APEC, BIS, FATF, ICC, IHO, IMF, IMO (associate), Interpol (sub-bureau), 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
office: 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 stylised, white, five-petal Bauhinia flower in the centre; each petal contains a small, red, five-pointed star in its middle; the red colour 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 symbolise the region; the five stars echo those on the flag of China
National symbol(s) : orchid tree flower
National anthem : note: as a Special Administrative Region of China, "Yiyonggjun Jinxingqu" is the official anthem
 

 
 

 


 


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