Ready for a watered down version of Hong Kong history? Here we go. Back when China was ruled by various dynasties, Hong Kong was, for the most part, governed by China. Then, in the 13th century, the Mongols established power in Hong Kong for 97 years. After that, it was once again part of China. In 1841, Hong Kong became a British colony and it stayed that way until 1997, with a brief period of Japanese rule thrown in there. 1997 was when Hong Kong went back to being governed by China for the first time in 150 years. Hong Kong is now considered a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. So yes, technically Hong Kong is part of China.
But In Reality, No
For all intents and purposes that are relevant to modern travelers, Hong Kong is not China. The language is different, the food is different, the culture is different. When I flew from China to Hong Kong, my passport said I left China. When I flew back into China I got a “welcome back” stamp. That flight departed from the international terminal, by the way. Once I arrived in Hong Kong I had to trade out my Chinese Yuan for Hong Kong Dollars. I got around just fine with English, I didn’t have to use VPN to get on Facebook… It certainly felt like I had left China.
No one can predict the future, but if everything goes according to the PRC’s plan, Hong Kong will be controlled by Beijing in about 30 years.
Hong Kong is governed under the principle of “one country, two systems”, under which China has agreed to give the region a high degree of autonomy and to preserve its economic and social systems for 50 years from the date of the handover. —“China Media: White Paper On Hong Kong”, BBC News
However, I don’t think the pro-democracy camp of Hong Kongers are going to let their right to vote go down without a fight.
What do you think? Will Hong Kong transition closer to or away from being part of China? Comment below! For more China travel tips and advice, check out this China Travel Guide.
Talk to you soon,