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 an easy place to visit for tourists and international business people?
A1: Yes, very much so. Hong Kong has autonomy in immigration control. It maintains its own immigration laws and procedures and has a very liberal visa policy. As of May 2009, over 130 countries/regions have granted visa free access or provided visa-on-arrival arrangements for HKSAR passport holders. (BL Articles 154; 155)
Q2: Is Chinese the only official language allowed under the Basic Law?
A2: No, in addition to Chinese, English is also an official language used by the executive authorities, the legislature and the judiciary of the HKSAR. (BL Article 9)