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: Can Hong Kong still conclude and implement agreements with foreign states and regions or international organizations, and participate in international conferences?
A1: 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. In 2007, representatives of the HKSAR Government, using the name of “Hong Kong, China,” participated in over 1,600 international conferences not limited to states. (BL Articles 96; 133; 151; 152; 155)
Q2: Can foreign enterprises still participate fully in Hong Kong's economy?
A2: Yes. Hong Kong welcomes and encourages the participation of foreign enterprises, and provides a level playing field for all. There are no foreign-exchange controls in Hong Kong and no restrictions on the trading of gold, securities, futures or the like. The Basic Law stipulates that Hong Kong shall maintain the status of a free port, pursue the policy of free trade and safeguard the free movement of goods, intangible assets and capital. (BL Articles 112; 114; 115)