Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. Situated on Chinas south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour. Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Hong Kongs population is 95% ethnic Chinese and 5% from other groups.
Under the principle of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong runs on economic and political systems different from those of mainland China. Hong Kong is one of the worlds leading international financial centres, with a major capitalist service economy characterized by low taxation, free trade and minimum government intervention under the ethos of positive non-interventionism. The Hong Kong dollar is the 9th most traded currency in the world.
Hong Kongs independent judiciary functions under the common law framework. Its political system is governed by the Basic Law of Hong Kong, its constitutional document. It has a burgeoning multi-party system, and its legislature is partly elected through universal suffrage. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is the head of government.
Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after the First Opium War (1839–1842). Originally confined to Hong Kong Island, the colonys boundaries were extended in stages so as to include the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories by 1898. It was occupied by the Japanese during the Pacific War, after which the British resumed control until 1997, when China regained sovereignty. The Basic Law stipulates that Hong Kong shall enjoy a "high degree of autonomy" in all matters except foreign relations and military defence.