Hong Kong - education
Primary school, where students begin as six-year-olds, lasts six years. The
five-year superstructure course leads to the Hong Kong Certificate of Education
Examination (HKCEE). Six years of compulsory schooling, introduced in 1971, was
extended in 1978 to nine years. The majority of the schools are academically
oriented with a strong emphasis on academic subjects, and only a small number
are technical or vocational institutions. HKCEE at the advanced level, which can
be passed after a further two years, provides access to the universities.
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Hong Kong has seven universities, all of which are public. The oldest is Hong
Kong University, founded in 1911, where teaching takes place in English; a
Chinese-language university was established in 1963, and at a third university
of science and technology from 1991, most of the teaching is in English.
Hong Kong, Xianggang, (kin. 'The fragrant port'), a so-called special
administrative region of China, located on the south coast; 1104 km2,
7.2 mio. residents (2014). From 1842 to 1997, the area was a British Crown Colony.
Hong Kong has one of the world's finest natural deep-water ports and is
centrally located both in the East Asian growth region and as the gateway to
South China. Traditionally, the territory has been a free trade area with low
personal and corporate taxes and the least possible control of the business
community by the authorities. Together with an efficient public administration
and an enterprising population, it has made Hong Kong a global trading and
financial center and one of Asia's most dynamic areas.
Hong Kong Constitution
From 1997 onwards, the Supreme Political-Administrative Leader is elected by
a Beijing Congregation of 800 Hong Kong citizens. The leader is elected for a
four-year period, and is assisted by an administrative council, which he/she
composes himself/herself. In 2002, the council was expanded to 19 members and
it was changed to have more the character of an actual government. The Council
is accountable to the political-administrative leader.
The Legislative Council has 60 members, of which 30 are elected by direct
election in geographical constituencies, 30 in business-based interest
groups. The election period is four years. Among other things, the council
must approve government budgets and tax proposals and otherwise control the
administration. All legislation must be reported to the Standing Committee of
the National People's Congress of China, which will assess its compliance with
Hong Kong's fundamental laws.
Hong Kong - social conditions
High economic growth has given Hong Kong a position as one of East Asia's
rich, newly industrialized areas. Especially since the 1970's, a large middle
class has emerged and the living conditions of the population as a whole have
improved. However, China's takeover of Hong Kong in 1997 and the Asian financial
crisis of the same year helped to change the area's social and economic
conditions, partly with rising unemployment and a halving of property
prices. The development is mainly due to the financial crisis and to a lesser
extent China's takeover of the Hong Kong area in the same year. Hong Kong is one
of the most expensive areas in the world to live in, but with a very low tax
level. Welfare expenditure is also generally expected to increase, as the family
itself no longer functions as the crucial safety net for the individual.
Hong Kong - Mass Media
Hong Kong is the media center for large parts of East Asia with a wealth of
Chinese and international publications. Among the most important of the
approximately 20 Chinese dailies are Dongfang Ribao (Tungfang Jih Pao, Oriental Daily
News), grdl. 1969, with a circulation of approximately 520,000 (2005) and the tabloid
newspaper Pingguo Ribao (P'ingkuo Jih Pao, Apple Daily), grdl. 1995, whose
circulation is approximately 343,000 (2005). The English-language press includes South
China Morning Post, grdl. 1903, with a circulation of approximately 100,000, which has
a reputation as East Asia's best English-language newspaper. Hong Kong's press
has been called Asia's freest, but in the early 1990's self-censorship began to
spread under the impression of the forthcoming alliance with China. The TV
market is dominated by two large privately owned, commercial
stations, Television Broadcasts (TVB) and Asia Television (ATV). In addition,
there are the state Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) and the Pan-Asian
satellite channel STAR TV.
Hong Kong - film
Hong Kong has at times been among the world's largest film-producing
countries. The first film was shot in 1909, and in the 1930's the film industry
experienced an almost explosive development, not least due to the influx of
fugitive directors from China.
The development continued in the 1950's and 1960's, which is considered the
golden period of Hong Kong film with a production of up to 300 films a year. In
the early 1970's, Kung-fu films formed the major part of Hong Kong's film exports
thanks to Bruce Lee's international breakthrough and later Jackie Chans (b.
1954) clown heroic roles.
The 1980's were historically the most significant years in Hong Kong with a
new wave of directors such as Tsui Hark (b. 1951) and John Woo, as well as Ann
Hui (b. 1947) and Allen Fong (b. 1947), who together changed the Hong Kong film
status from pure entertainment to serious film art.
Due to the Chinese takeover in 1997, actors and directors with anti-communist
sympathies have emigrated to the United States, Canada and Australia, but
internationally renowned director Wong Kar-wai still holds the flag high on the
domestic film scene. with its dreamy art films, while the tradition of leading
action films is maintained by Stephen Chow (b. 1962).