Hong Kong is a curious place. It's an energetic paragon of the virtues of capitalism and yet is now part of what is officially the largest Communist Country in the world. A British Colony since the middle of the 19th century, Hong Kong was handed back to China on 1 July 1997 amid much fanfare and anticipation. Indeed there are strong sense of pride among the people of Hong Kong that they are no longer a colony of Britain, on the other hand they have a new consciousness about being Chinese, especially about being Communist Chinese. They don't want to lose their freedoms. In the end, despite the colossal power of their overseers, it will be up to them to determine how Hong Kong can keep its position as one of the world's most dynamic cities.
Hong Kong believe it or not has been extremely successful in drug dealing as part of its past. The drug was opium and the runners were backed by the British government. European trade with China goes back to more than 400 years. As the trade mushroomed during the 18th century and European demands for Chinese tea and silk grew, the balance of trade became more and more unfavorable to the European- until they started to run opium
China grew alarmed at this turn of events and attempted to throw the foreigners out. Opium was affecting the economy to an alarming degree and creating a society of addicts. The war of words ended when British gunboats were sent in. They managed to demolish a Chinese fleet of 29 ships with only two gunboats. The first Opium War went much the same way and, at its close in 1841, the island of Hong Kong was ceded tothe British.
Following the second Opium War in 1860, British took possession of the Kowloon Peninsula. Finally in 1898, a 99 year lease granted for their New Territory was given by the Chinese. What would happen after the lease ended in 1997 was the subject of the considerable speculation. Although the British supposedly had possession of Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula for all eternity, it was pretty clear that if they handed back the New Territories China would want the rest as well. In late 1984, an agreement was reached: China would take over the entire colony on 1 July 1997, but Hong Kong's unique free enterprising economy would be maintained for at least 50 years. Hong Kong would become a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China with official slogan, "One country, two systems".
Despite the colony of Britain, Hong Kong has flourished with independent industry, especially in the entertainment industry. Today, trade with west and the rest of China is blooming. Service industries such as banking, insurance, telecommunications and tourism employed almost 75% of Hong Kong residents. All the polluting sweatshop factories have been moved just across the border to Shenzhen and other cities in China. Part of the reason for Hong Kong's prosperity is that it is a capitalist's dream; it has lax controls and maximum tax rate of 15%. Combine this with its new status, as a member of the largest nation in the world and it's not surprising that many Hong Kong business people are optimistic of their future.
Hong Kong has original culture that cannot be seen in mainland China. Despite the British Colony, Hong Kong has produced many cultural aspects consistent with their Chinese heritage. Film industry is well known to foreign countries. Hong Kong produces more films than any other part of China put together. Although censorship under British rule did exist, it was light, and Hong Kong grew up to be one of the movie capitals of Asia. Unfortunately, this freewheeling entertainment industry could suffer a major setback as a result of the hand over to China. As some well known: Hong Kong directors, John Woo, Eric Tsang, Tsui Hark, Wong Jiang, WongKar Wai, and Ring Lam can be picked up. The Hong Kong film industry excels in comedies. In terms of quality, the number of comedies is not large by world standards, but some are of excellent quality. Certainly there is no other place in Asia that comes close to matching the quality of Hong Kong's humorous flicks.
Hong Kong produces a large number of films of the human-interest sort. Love stories, often ending in tragedy, are probably second only to kung-fu dramas. Kung-fu dramas are usually spectacularly bloody, and definitely not for everyone. Those are very so attractive that Mao Zedong set up a screen in his study for viewing Hong Kong kung-fu movies, even though he prohibited the masses from watching them. Actor Bruce Lee essentially started it all and his films tend to be much better than average. Jackie Chan is another star, notable for both serious and funny kung-fu dramas. Epic historical dramas are often co-productions between Hong Kong and mainland production companies.
Hong Kong is the one of the popular places for foreigners because western visitors have few problems getting around in Hong Kong, for there English is widely spoken and most street signs are bilingual. But Hong Kong is an expensive place and it gets more expensive every year. If you stay in dormitories, eat budget meals and resist the urge to shop, you can barely survive on under HK250dollars per day. However, most travelers will spend more. In fact Hong Kong resembles one gigantic shopping mall, but a quick look at price tags should convince you that the city is not quite the bargain it's cracked up to be. Imported goods can be bought for roughly the same price in many western countries. However what makes Hong Kong shine is he variety.
Hong Kong offers incredible variety when it comes to food. You should at least try dim sum, a uniquely Cantonese dish served for breakfast or lunch, but never dinner. Dim sum delicacies are normally steamed in a small bamboo basket. Typically, each basket contains four identical pieces, so four people would be an ideal number of basket you order. The baskets are stacked up on pushcarts and rolled around the dining room. You choose whatever you like from the carts, so no menu is needed.