|The City of Hong Kong is very beautiful and
very modern with some of the worlds most unique skyscrapers and
condominium high rises. I visited Hong Kong in the Summer of 2006.
Because I was in the city for a few days I got the opportunity to see
quite a bit. Among the sites I visited was Aberdeen (were many of the
poor live on the water in house boats), Stanley Market (considered one
of the worlds greatest bazaars), and Victoria Peak (the place to go for
panoramic views of the city). Hong Kong is definitely a place I would
like to return to in the future.
Hong Kong, which means Fragrant Harbor, was acquired by the British from China in three stages. The Island of Hong Kong was gained in the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 after the British victory in the Opium Wars, the Kowloon (9 dragons) Peninsula was won by the convention of Peking 1860, and the New Territories were offered to the British under a 99 year lease by the second convention of Peking in 1898. Between 1842 and 1950 (apart from the 1941-45 Japanese occupation), Hong Kong served as a staging post and entry port for trade between China and the West. The colonies population, heavily reduced during the Japanese occupation, was rapidly boosted by the communist victory in China in 1949 when more then 1 million refugees fled to the area. Since then, Hong Kong has transformed itself from a cheep manufacturing base to a regional service and financial center. In 1984, the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed in Beijing and under the declaration, Hong Kong returned to China on July 1, 1997. Since the handover, the Chinese government has allowed Hong Kong to remain fully capitalist and has allowed democratic elections, though these elections have incurred some interference from Beijing.