The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). It enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems.” Under this principle, socialist policies of mainland China are not practiced in the HKSAR.
The Basic Law provides the guarantees to maintain Hong Kong’s existing way of life, including socioeconomic development, the rights and duties of Hong Kong people, the rule of law and other areas.
The Basic Law was put into effect July 1, 1997.
Q1: Is Hong Kong still a free port and a separate customs territory?A1: Ships of all nations regularly visit Hong Kong, which is virtually a duty-free port. The HKSAR, using the name “Hong Kong, China,” is a member in its own right of the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization. Hong Kong remains a separate customs territory, and the boundary between the Mainland and the HKSAR is clearly delineated and properly managed. Export quotas, tariff preferences and other similar arrangements, which are obtained or made by the HKSAR or which were obtained or made and remain valid, shall be enjoyed exclusively by Hong Kong. (BL Articles 114; 116; 126)
Q2: Can Hong Kong still conclude and implement agreements with foreign states and regions or international organizations, and participate in international conferences?
A2: Hong Kong continues to play an active role in the international arena and maintains close contact with its international partners. The HKSAR may on its own, using the name “Hong Kong, China,” maintain and develop relations and conclude and implement agreements with foreign states and regions and relevant international organizations in the appropriate fields. Since the reunification, the HKSAR Government, authorized by the Central Authorities, has concluded over 100 bilateral agreements with foreign states in accordance with the Basic Law, including Air Services Agreements, Visa Abolition Agreements and mutual legal assistance agreements. (BL Articles 96; 133; 151; 152; 155)