Country of the World Hong Kong

About the country Hong Kong, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: Kowloon Peninsula attached to Kwangtung Province, in southern China, near the mouth of the Pearl River, plus over 200 islands, including Hong Kong proper. Most of the territory is rocky and hilly, but portions of the mainland are arable.

Size: 404 sq. mi. (1,046 sq. km.).

Population: 4.65 million.

Who Rules: Hong Kong is a British crown colony, headed by a governor representing the throne and carrying out the policies of the government of the United Kingdom. He is assisted by the advisory Executive Council (Exco) and Legislative Council (Legco), both of which are appointive. Only the Urban Council (Urbco), which influences health, environmental, cultural, and recreational policy, is at all elective, but only half of its members are elected, by voters from a pool of only 300,000 potential voters. In 1977 only 7,000 people voted.

Who REALLY Rules: Though the ruling party in Britain occasionally makes significant policy decisions regarding Hong Kong, day-to-day government operations are dominated by Hong Kong's integrated (English-Chinese) business elite. The most influential business organizations are the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, which issues most of the colony's currency, and four conglomerates of British origin: Jardine Matheson, Hutchison, the Swire Group, and Wheelock Marden. Officials from these companies are members of the Exco, the Legco, the exclusive Jockey Club, and other important institutions.

In addition to trading outlets, Communist China operates 13 banks with 120 branches, three major department stores and 90 smaller ones, four insurance companies, three newspapers, two advertising agencies, and much more in Hong Kong. The symbol of this Communist capitalism is the imposing, stone-lion-guarded office of the Bank of China. The marble floors and walls and discreet, conservative bankers inside provide the atmosphere of a solid, traditional, capitalist institution.

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