Department of State publication. Background notes series, vol. 41 (1986) pp. 1-4
This discussion of Hong Kong focuses on the following: geography; the people; history; government; political conditions; and the economy. In 1984 the population of Hong Kong totaled 5.4 million with an annual growth rate of 1.3%. The infant mortality rate is 9.9/1000; life expectancy is 76 years. Hong Kong adjoins Guangdong province on the southeastern coast of the Chinese mainland. It consists of Hong Kong and Lan Tao islands, the Kowloon Peninsula, and more than 200 smaller islands. Hong Kong's population consists of about 98% ethnic Chinese and 2% other ethnic groups, mostly European. Only 57.2% of the population were born in Hong Kong. Cantonese is the Chinese dialect spoken by most of the territory's population, but English is widely understood. Not until after 1949 did Hong Kong develop into a leading manufacturing, commercial, and tourist center. Hong Kong's foreign relations are the responsibility of the British government, but considerable autonomy has been permitted in the area of commercial relations. Following the June 30, 1997, expiration date of the lease on the New Territories, which comprise 92% of Hong Kong's total area, Hong Kong will become a Special Administrative Region of China in 1997. Hong Kong has little arable land and virtually no natural resources. The colony always has depended on foreign trade. Hong Kong has developed into a center of light manufacturing and international finance. In 1984, Hong Kong's foreign trade was valued at $57 billion. Hong Kongs economy has recovered strongly from the 1981-82 recession.
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