Basic Information

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Basic Information

Abbr.: HK
Area: 1,104 sq km
Population: 6.88 million
HK and Olympics 

1>HK and Olympics 
The site Hong Kong programmed for staging the cross-country eventing of the 2008 Olympic equestrian sport.

Location: Hong Kong

Use during the Games: Equestrian

Category: Existing competition venue

The Equestrian events

All circles in Hong Kong were delighted at July 8's announcement that Hong Kong would co-host the equestrian events of the 2008 Olympic Games. Local authorities had pledged to provide the utmost guarantee of facilities for the success of the Olympic equestrian events.

The Equestrian events will be held at the Hong Kong Sports Institute and Penfold Park in Shatian, Beas River Country Club and part of the adjacent Hong Kong Golf Club. Hong Kong has in place world-class equine care facilities and medical services for horses, and a group of professionals in the Equestrian events. Hong Kong also has recognized quarantine protocol arrangements with many countries. Besides, Hong Kong's Equestrian sport for riders with disabilities is well-established and takes a leading position in Asia.

Hong Kong has a highly developed and sophisticated transport network, encompassing both public and private transport. The Octopus card stored value smart card payment system can be used to pay for fares on almost all railways, buses and ferries in Hong Kong. The Octopus card uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) to allow users to scan their card without taking it out of their wallet or bag. All parking meters in Hong Kong accept payment by Octopus card only, and Octopus card payment can be made at various car parks.

Hong Kong is dominated by steep, hilly terrain, and some unusual methods of transport have been devised to ease movement up and down the slopes. For example, the Peak Tram has provided vertical rail transport between Central and Victoria Peak since 1888 by steeply ascending the side of a mountain. In Central and Western district there is an extensive system of escalators and moving sidewalks, including the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, the Mid-levels Escalator.

Hong Kong has several different modes of public rail transport. The two metro systems for the city are the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) and KCR which acts as a link between Hong Kong and mainland China (KCR also operates a light rail system in northwest New Territories). These are operated by the MTR Corporation Limited and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation respectively. The tramway system covers the northern parts of Hong Kong Island and is the only tram system in the world run exclusively by double deckers.

Five separate companies (KMB, Citybus, NWFB, Long Win & NLB) operate franchised public bus services in Hong Kong. Double-decker buses were introduced to Hong Kong in 1949. They are now used almost exclusively in Hong Kong, just as in Singapore, Dublin and the United Kingdom. However, single-decker buses remain in use for routes with lower demand or roads with lower carrying capacity. Such single-decker buses are mainly used on Lantau Island and for overnight services. Most normal franchised bus routes in Hong Kong operate until 1 am. Public light buses run the length and breadth of Hong Kong, through areas where standard bus lines cannot reach or do not reach as frequently, quickly, or directly. Taxis are also widely used throughout Hong Kong. 99% of taxis in Hong Kong run on liquefied petroleum gas; the rest are still diesel operated.

Most ferry services are provided by licensed ferry operators serving outlying islands, new towns, across Victoria Harbour, Macau and cities in mainland China. The oldest service, the legendary Star Ferry, operates four lines between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island and has provided cost-effective transport for over a century. Popular with tourists desiring a panoramic view of Hong Kong's skyline and harbour, many Hong Kong residents consider the Star Ferry as one of the city's most treasured cultural icons. Additionally, 78 "kai-to" ferries are licensed to serve remote coastal settlements.

Hong Kong has one active international airport, known as Hong Kong International Airport located at Chek Lap Kok. In 1998, this replaced the former H.K International Airport - Kai Tak Airport located at Kowloon City, which was simultaneously closed. After high-profile delays in the cargo systems in the first few months, the airport now serves as a transport hub for Southeast Asia, and as the hub for Cathay Pacific Airways, Dragonair, Air Hong Kong, Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express. Additionally, both Hong Kong International Airport and Cathay Pacific Airways have been voted best in the world, in the airport and airline criteria respectively, by Skytrax from 2001 to 2005. Hong Kong International Airport served more than 36 million passengers in the year 2004, and increased to over 40 million passengers in 2005.
Access to the airport includes 'Airport Express', 'CityFlyers' and 'Airbuses'. These services connect the airport to the rest of Hong Kong. The Airport Express zooms passengers to Central on Hong Kong Island in just 23 minutes. The recent opening of Sunny Bay Station of the MTR allows easy access to the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.
While the traffic in mainland China drives on the right, Hong Kong still maintains its own road rules, with traffic continuing to drive on the left. There are about 517,000 registered vehicles in Hong Kong, 64% of which are privately owned passenger cars. As a metropolis for luxury in Asia, Hong Kong is world famous for having the most Rolls-Royce cars per capita in the world.[40] Note that the Hong Kong highway code uses the same road sign system as Great Britain whereas the Chinese system is different.

Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of religious freedom, a right enshrined and protected through its constitutional document, the Basic Law. The majority of Hong Kong's population, as in Mainland China, practice a folk version of Buddhism. This majority includes approximately six million people, from a total population of less than seven million, or close to 90% (See Buddhism by country). A sizable Christian community of around 500,000 exists, forming about 7% of the total population; it is roughly equally divided between Catholics and Protestants. There are also around 200,000 followers each of authentic Buddhism and Taoism. Apart from the major religions, there are also a significant number of followers of other religions, including an estimated 23,000 Mormons, 3,000 Jews and a number of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Bahá'ís. Apart from offering religious instructions, many major religious bodies have established schools and provided social welfare facilities.
Hong Kong's religious beliefs are tied to the region's early role as a fishing community. Tin Hau, the protector of seafarers, has been honoured with several temples throughout Hong Kong for at least 300 years. Hung Shing, another protector of seafarers, has also been honoured for centuries. Hong Kong residents, especially elder generations, visit Taoist or Buddhist temples to appease the deities and, usually, to request compassion, good health or good fortune. Gifts of food, and in particular fruit, are presented, and incense and paper offerings are burnt in respect.

With the transfer of Hong Kong to the PRC, there were significant concerns over religious freedom in Hong Kong. So far, this has proved mostly unfounded. Despite the banning of the Falun Gong movement by Beijing in 1999, adherents are still free to practice in Hong Kong. Similarly, the Catholic Church freely appoints its own bishops in Hong Kong, unlike on mainland China where the only approved 'Catholic' institution is the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association where bishops and priests are appointed by Beijing (though there is also an unofficial and illegal part of the Catholic church that maintains contact with the Vatican). A significant issue in the normalisation of ties between the PRC and the Vatican is Beijing's insistence that the Vatican drops its diplomatic ties with the ROC.
Hong Kong is the only place in China where missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) can serve. The Church has a temple in Hong Kong which was dedicated by Gordon B. Hinckley on May 26–27, 1996. Church members consider Hinkley, who is also President of the church, to be a prophet of God.

4> Culture 
Hong Kong is frequently described as a place where East meets West, a meeting reflected in its economic infrastructure, education and street culture. On one street corner, there may be traditional Chinese shops selling Chinese herbal medicine, Buddhist paraphernalia or bowls of synthetic shark fin soup. But around the next, one may find theatres showing the latest Hollywood blockbuster, an English-style pub, a Catholic Church or a McDonald's. The region's official languages are Chinese and English; signs in both languages are omnipresent throughout Hong Kong. The government, police and most workplaces and stores conduct business bilingually. British rule may have ended in 1997 but Western culture is deeply ingrained in Hong Kong and coexists seamlessly with traditional philosophy and practices of the Orient.
The city's cosmopolitan flavour can also be seen in the wide variety of cuisines available. While different varieties of Chinese selections, especially seafood, are most popular, there are also many European, American, Japanese, Korean, and other restaurants. Ethnic dishes served in cha chaan teng's and dai pai dong's are also popular. The people of Hong Kong take their food seriously and many top chefs make their way to the city to show off their talents to these discerning diners.

While Hong Kong is a global centre of trade, perhaps one of the city's most famous exports is its entertainment industry, particularly in the martial arts genre. Several Hollywood performers originate from Hong Kong cinema—Bruce Lee, Chow Yun-Fat, Jackie Chan to name a few. Behind the camera, Hong Kong filmmakers have also struck fortune in Hollywood such as John Woo, Wong Kar-wai, Tsui Hark and martial arts choreographers who have designed fight scenes in the Matrix trilogy, Kill Bill and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Back in Hong Kong, several homegrown films have also gained international recognition such as Chungking Express, Infernal Affairs, Shaolin Soccer, Rumble in the Bronx and In the Mood for Love. Acclaimed filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has said he's strongly influenced by Hong Kong action cinema. Hong Kong is also the world's main hub for Cantopop music. While the territory has been home to many stars, karaoke culture is also part of Hong Kong's nightlife.
The Hong Kong government also supports cultural institutions such as the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Furthermore, the government's Leisure and Cultural Services Department also subsidise and sponsors international performers brought to Hong Kong
Hong Kong's climate is subtropical and prone to monsoons. It is cooler and dry in the wintertime which lasts from around December to early March, and is hot, humid and rainy from spring through summer. It is warm, sunny, and dry in autumn. Hong Kong occasionally has tropical cyclones in the summer and early autumn. The ecology of Hong Kong is mostly affected by the results of climatic changes. Hong Kong's climate is seasonal due to the alternating wind directions between winter and summer. Hong Kong has been geologically stable for millions of years, though landslides are common especially after heavy rainstorms. Flora and fauna in Hong Kong are altered by climatic change, sea level alternation and human impact.

The highest recorded temperature in Hong Kong is 38°C (100.0°F) while the lowest recorded temperature is -4°C (25.0°F). Meanwhile, the highest and lowest temperatures ever recorded by the Observatory are respectively 36.1°C (97.0°F) on 19 August 1900 and 18 August 1990, and 0.0°C (32.0°F) on 18 January 1893. The average temperature in the coldest month, January, is 16.1°C (61.0°F) while the average temperature in the hottest month, July, is 28.7°C (83.7°F). The territory is situated south of the Tropic of Cancer which is approximate to Hawaii in latitude. In winter, strong and cold winds generate from the north cool the city; in the summer, the wind's prevailing direction changes and brings the warm and humid air in from the southwest. This climate can support a tropical rainforest.

Hong Kong consists primarily of Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories as well as some 260 other islands. The Kowloon Peninsula is attached to the New Territories to the north, and the New Territories spans northwards eventually connecting with mainland China across the Sham Chun River (Shenzhen River).

In total, Hong Kong encompasses a collection of 262 islands in the South China Sea, of which Lantau is the largest. Hong Kong Island is the second largest island and the most populated. Ap Lei Chau is the most densely populated island in the world.

The name "Hong Kong", which literally translates to mean "fragrant harbour", is derived from the area around present-day Aberdeen on Hong Kong Island. This is an area where fragrant wood products and fragrant incense were once traded. The narrow body of water which separates Hong Kong Island from the Kowloon Peninsula is known as Victoria Harbour and is one of the deepest natural maritime ports in the world.

Despite Hong Kong's reputation of being intensely urbanised, the territory has made much effort to promote a green environment. Much of the territory remains undeveloped as the terrain is mostly hilly to mountainous with steep slopes. Of the territory's 1,104 square kilometres (426 square miles), less than 25% is developed. The remaining land is remarkably green with about 40% of the landmass reserved as country parks and nature reserves. Most of the territory's urban development exists on the Kowloon peninsula, along the northern shores of Hong Kong Island and in scattered settlements throughout the New Territories.

Hong Kong's long, irregular and curvaceous coastline also affords the territory with many bays, rivers and beaches. Despite the territory's extensive wooded and ocean setting, environmental awareness is growing as Hong Kong's air ranks as one of the most polluted. Approximately 80% of the city's smog originates from other parts of the Pearl River Delta.

Hong Kong is 60 kilometres (37 miles) east of Macau on the opposite side of the Pearl River Delta. It borders the city of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province to the north. The highest elevation in the territory is at Tai Mo Shan, at a height of 958 metres (3,142 ft) above sea level. Lowlands exist in the northwestern part of the New Territories.


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