Hong Kong is often mentioned as a separate entity to the rest of China, so much so that many people don’t even consider Hong Kong to be a part of the country. With its own flag, its own official title as ‘the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China’ and an entirely separate government, it’s an easy mistake to make!
Once a former colony of the British Empire, Hong Kong is officially a part of mainland China, despite its island status. There are a number of differences that separate the two. Here we take a closer look at those differences, variations that make Hong Kong one of the most loved destinations in China.
Hong Kong has its own currency
Although Hong Kong is officially a part of China, it is governed under ‘Basic Law’, a privilege of its special administrative status. TripSavvy explains the details:
“Hong Kong’s Basic Law, as agreed between China and Britain, means Hong Kong will retain its own currency (the Hong Kong dollar), legal system, and parliamentary system for fifty years. Hong Kong exercises a limited form of self-government. Its parliament is partially elected by popular vote and partially by Beijing approved caucuses of prominent nominees from business and policy bodies… Similarly, Hong Kong’s legal system is completely distinct from Beijing. It remains based on British common law and is considered free and impartial.”
Their official language also varies
Whilst China’s official language is Mandarin, being the home of more than 7.4 million people of varying nationalities, Hong Kong is a melting pot of culture. Hong Kong’s official languages are actually English and Cantonese, a southern Chinese language that only differs slightly from Mandarin. Mainland Chinese Mandarin speakers can therefore understand the Cantonese that Hong Kong natives speak and write.
The online scene is much more diverse
Those travelling to China have to download a selection of apps to overcome the ‘Great Firewall’. Check out our rundown of the best apps for your China trip. People visiting and living in Hong Kong, on the other hand, have much more freedom to access the World Wide Web. Unlike China, Hong Kong natives and visitors have unlimited access to the Internet, and can browse at their leisure without the use of a VPN. As well as being able to access Google Services, unlike China, Hong Kong natives can utilise all Western social media sites and apps including Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Hong Kong is considered more ‘westernised’ as a result
Thanks to the freedoms mentioned above and the melting pot of culture that Hong Kong represents, the region is seen as more ‘westernised’ than mainland China. Throw in Hong Kong’s diverse attractions, world-class shopping facilities, outstanding safety and comfort, mild weather, greater cleanliness, and friendliness – you can see why it’s a popular choice for millions and millions of visitors every year.
That being said, it doesn’t stop their natives being just as, if not more, superstitious than their mainland cousins. Most locals still practice a vast number of traditions, with belief in Feng Shui and regular temple attendance all part and parcel of Hong Kong life.