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TVInews - 107 HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL April 4th to 19th - 2006 • Television International Magazine •tvinews.net •smart90.com •Xingtv.com •Report with • Bryan Lukas - HISTORY OF HONG KONG
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120 PIXELS 3 columns

1. Feature Story / Bryan Lukas Celebrity Scene Report from Hong Kong Film Festival, HKFF / • Chinese Webpage • English / Read More

Part 02/ A h h h . . . Spring in Hong Kong . . . where mild breezes blow as the warm sun smiles over this beautiful spot on eastern side of the Pearl River Delta. There you can feel a timeless sensuality, assuaging a nostalgia for China which since as far back as the 12th century has been a constant theme in many a China lifestyle.
03. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is one of the two special administrative regions (SAR) of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It is commonly known as Hong Kong, which is often spelt as Hongkong in some older English-language texts
Geographically, Hong Kong is located at the eastern side of the Pearl River Delta on the southeastern coast of China, facing the South China Sea in the south, and bordering the Guangdong Province in the north. It has one of the world's most liberal economies and is a major international centre of finance and trade
Hong Kong was formerly a British colony, and was handed over to the PRC in 1997. As a special administrative region, Hong Kong is guaranteed by the Basic Law to have a relatively high degree of autonomy under the policy of "One Country, Two Systems". For instance, Hong Kong retains its own legal system, currency, customs policy, and immigration laws. Furthermore, Hong Kong also maintains its own delegation in most international organizations, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and international sport events, such as the Olympic Games, under the designation "Hong Kong, China". Also, while the traffic in mainland China drives on the right, Hong Kong still maintains its own road rules, with traffic continuing to drive on the left. Only the defence and the diplomatic relations of Hong Kong are the responsibilities of the Central People's Government in Beijing
It should be noted that, while the names of most cities of the PRC are transliterated into English by the Pinyin romanization scheme, the official English name of Hong Kong remains Hong Kong, rather than Xi?ngg?ng. See Pronunciation of "Hong Kong" for details
Though Hong Kong has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic Age, the area now known as Hong Kong was an important trading region, and also a significant strategic location for the Chinese mainland during the Tang and Song dynasties and the subsequent Mongol invasion. After that, the prominence of Hong Kong fell, and only began to attract the attention of China again and the rest of the world in the 19th century when it was ceded to Britain after the Opium Wars. Hong Kong was first visited by a European in 1513, the Portuguese mariner Jorge Álvares. Álvares began trading with the Chinese, and the Portuguese continued to make periodic trade stops at various locations up and down the coast
Tea, silk, and other Asian luxury goods were introduced in Europe by the Portuguese, and by the mid-18th century, these items were in high demand, particularly tea. The British, challenging China's near monopoly on the tea industry, invaded China, winning the First Opium War in 1841. During the war, Hong Kong Island was first occupied by the British, and was formally ceded by the Qing Dynasty of China in 1842 under the Treaty of Nanking
Hong Kong became a crown colony in 1843. Kowloon Peninsula south of Boundary Street and Stonecutter's Island were ceded to the British in 1860 under the Convention of Peking after the Second Opium War. Various adjacent lands, known as the New Territories (including New Kowloon and Lantau Island), were then leased by Britain for 99 years, beginning on 1 July 1898 and ending on 30 June 1997. For the first twenty years there was little contact between the European and Chinese communities. The first specially recruited Hong Kong civil servants to be taught Cantonese were recruited in 1862, markedly improving relations
The liberation of Hong Kong in 1945 was celebrated at the Cenotaph in Victoria with the raising of the Union Flag and the Flag of the Republic of China
Hong Kong entered a dark age during the Japanese Occupation of World War II, which lasted for three years and eight months. Many Hong Kong people were executed by the Japanese army during the war. The Japanese subsequently surrendered on 15 August 1945. The port was quickly re-opened and welcomed a mass migration of Chinese refugees in 1949 from the civil war and the new Communist government in China
Hong Kong had been a trade port ever since the British occupation, but its position as an entrepot declined greatly after the United Nations ordered a trade embargo against the People's Republic of China as a result of the Korean War. In response, a textile industry was established, taking advantage of the new pool of workers from China who were willing to work for almost any wage. During this period, the economy grew extremely rapidly. Towards the 1970s, Hong Kong began to move away from the textile industry and develop its financial and banking economy. This led to even greater growth, and Hong Kong quickly became one of the wealthiest territories in the world. Its position as an entrepot was restrengthened since the Open Door Policy was adopted in the PRC in the late 1970s under Deng Xiaoping
In the 1980s, with the lease on the New Territories running out, the British government of Margaret Thatcher decided to negotiate the question of the sovereignty of Hong Kong. Although the British would have been legally required to transfer only the New Territories to the PRC, Whitehall decided that maintaining a rump colony would not be worthwhile - the majority of Hong Kong's land was in the New Territories, and failure to return the entire colony would doubtless have generated political friction between the UK and PRC
Flag of colonial Hong Kong, a Blue Ensign with the colony's coat of arms
Pursuant to an agreement known as the Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed by the People's Republic of China and the United Kingdom on 19 December 1984, the whole territory of Hong Kong under British colonial rule became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the PRC on 1 July 1997. In the Joint Declaration, the PRC promised that under the "One Country, Two Systems" policy proposed by Deng Xiaoping, the socialist economic system in mainland China would not be practised in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong's previous capitalist system and life-style would remain unchanged for 50 years, or until 2047. Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except diplomatic affairs and national defence. Hong Kong was transferred to the PRC at the stroke of midnight on 1 July 1997, with the last governor, Chris Patten leaving on the royal yacht. Soon after the handover in July, land values in Hong Kong collapsed substantially and expedited the burst of the bubble economy, as part of the Asian financial crisis. This was exacerbated by Tung Chee Hwa's unsubstantiated pledge to supply 85,000 new flats annually[2]; which essentially manipulated the region's real estate prices. In some areas, land values fell by over half; and the Hang Seng Index fell by over 1,500 points on 28 October, losing 22.8% of its value in a week. Exacerbating the region's economic problems, Hong Kong was hit badly by the SARS virus beginning in mid-March through the summer of 2003, especially in the effect that it had on travel to and from Hong Kong
On 1 July the same year, half a million people marched in the largest protest rally ever aimed at the government of Hong Kong, voicing concerns about a proposed anti-subversion bill that would have eroded freedom of the press, of religion and of association arising from Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, as well as dissatisfaction with the poor state of the economy. Regina Ip, then Secretary for Security, and Antony Leung, then Financial Secretary, were forced to leave office in 2003 under public pressure (though Antony Leung left office for reason unrelated to the SARS and Article 23 crisis, he gave in to public pressure after his involvement in the 'Lexusgate' scandal)
On 10 March 2005, Tung Chee Hwa submitted his resignation as chief executive of Hong Kong. Donald Tsang, the Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong, served as Acting Chief Executive until 25 May, when he, too, resigned from his post to take part in the campaign for the new Chief Executive election. Following an interim government headed by Henry Tang, Tsang was eventually elected as Chief Executive.

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