Introduction / History Hong Kong is a collection of islands and a peninsula extending from the southeast of China. It is known for its high standard of living, well-educated citizens, economic and financial stability, and strategic location for global trade. The United States and Great Britain maintain a sizable presence in Hong Kong's business, industrial, cultural, and diplomatic relations. English is one of Hong Kong's official languages due to its history of British territorial rule.
According to archaeological studies, human activity on Hong Kong dates back over five millennia. The territory was settled by Han Chinese during the seventh century, A.D., evidenced by the discovery of an ancient tomb at Lei Cheung Uk in Kowloon. The first major migration from northern China to Hong Kong occurred during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279). The British East India Company made the first successful sea venture to China in 1699, and Hong Kong's trade with British merchants developed rapidly soon after. After the Chinese defeat in the First Opium War (1839-42), Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1842 under the Treaty of Nanking. Britain was granted a perpetual lease on the Kowloon Peninsula under the 1860 Convention of Beijing, which formally ended hostilities in the Second Opium War (1856-58). The United Kingdom, concerned that Hong Kong could not be defended unless surrounding areas also were under British control, executed a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898, significantly expanding the size of the Hong Kong colony.
In the late 19th century and early 20th centuries, Hong Kong developed as a warehousing and distribution center for U.K. trade with southern China. After the end of World War II and the communist takeover of Mainland China in 1949, hundreds of thousands of people fled from China to Hong Kong. Hong Kong became an economic success and a manufacturing, commercial, finance, and tourism center. High life expectancy, literacy, per capita income, and other socioeconomic measures attest to Hong Kong's achievements over the last five decades.
On July 1, 1997, China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, ending more than 150 years of British colonial rule. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China with a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs. According to the Sino-British Joint Declaration (1984) and the Basic Law, Hong Kong will retain its political, economic, and judicial systems and unique way of life for 50 years after reversion and will continue to participate in international agreements and organizations under the name, "Hong Kong, China."
Where are they located? Hong Kong is a group of small islands and a peninsula off the southeastern coast of China. Hong Kong covers an area of 1104 sq. kilometers and has a hilly to mountainous terrain. The climate of Hong Kong is tropical monsoon with hot and rainy conditions in the spring and summer, warms and sunny in the fall, and cool and humid in the winter.
What are their lives like? Hong Kong has a population of 7 million with the vast majority of these being people of Han Chinese descent. The workforce of 3.7 million is employed in wholesale (import & export), retail, tourism/hospitality, finance, insurance, real estate, business services, and manufacturing.
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with an overall density of some 6,339 people per square kilometer. Cantonese, the official Chinese language in Hong Kong, is spoken by most of the population. English, also an official language, is widely understood, being spoken by more than one-third of the population.
Children are required by law to be in full-time education between the ages of 6 and 15. The great majority of children complete upper secondary education or equivalent vocational education. Hong Kong enjoys one of the highest literacy rates in the world.
Hong Kong is one of the world's most open and dynamic economies. Hong Kong per capita GDP is comparable to other developed countries. Hong Kong enjoys a number of economic strengths, including a sound banking system, virtually no public debt, a strong legal system, ample foreign exchange reserves and an able and rigorously enforced anti-corruption regime. Hong Kong's liberal economic system enables it to respond quickly to changing circumstances. It continues to take measures designed to improve its attractiveness as a commercial and trading center, especially after China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), and is continually refining its financial architecture.
U.S. companies have a generally favorable view of Hong Kong's business environment, including its legal system and the free flow of information, low taxation, and infrastructure. U.S. policy toward Hong Kong, grounded in a determination to promote Hong Kong's prosperity, autonomy, and way of life, is stated in the U.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992. The United States maintains substantial economic and political interests in Hong Kong. The United States supports Hong Kong's autonomy by concluding and implementing bilateral agreements; promoting trade and investment; arranging high-level visits; broadening law enforcement cooperation; bolstering educational, academic, and cultural links; and supporting the large community of U.S. citizens and visitors.
The United States has substantial economic and social ties with Hong Kong. There are some 1,100 U.S. firms, including 923 regional operations (311 regional headquarters and 612 regional offices), and about 54,000 American residents in Hong Kong. According to U.S. Government statistics, U.S. exports to Hong Kong totaled $21.6 billion in 2008. U.S. direct investment in Hong Kong at the end of 2007 totaled about $47.4 billion (2008 figures are not yet available), making the United States one of Hong Kong's largest investors, along with China, Japan, and the Netherlands.
What are their beliefs? Every major religion is practiced freely in Hong Kong. About half of its citizens practice some type of religion with Christianity representing less than one-tenth. Protestant Christians, although representing a small comparative number, have been very active since their arrival in 1841. They have founded and continue to operate many childcare centers, schools, colleges, theological seminaries, hospitals, homes for the elderly, community centers, and training centers for the disabled.
What are their needs? With Christians representing such a small percentage of the population, Hong Kong needs great emphasis on evangelism for the majority population and discipleship for converts.
Like most places around the world, Hong Kong needs people who will preach, teach, and demonstrate Biblical Christianity in their everyday lives. Hong Kong is an area of great opportunity. It has a large and dense population in a country where religious freedom is protected by law. Hong Kong also serves as a launching point from which the gospel of Jesus Christ can be taken into other countries in Southeast Asia.
Prayer Points * Pray for God to send laborers into this field of opportunity.
* Also pray that He will raise up and equip locals who will take the gospel to their neighbors and to other countries in Southeast Asia.