Government Information Centre


'One Country, Two Systems'

Four years after the resumption of sovereignty by China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region continues to move ahead under the concept of 'One Country, Two Systems' and the principle of Hong Kong people running Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy.




The legal and judicial systems have been maintained. The common law continues to apply. Overseas judges are invited to preside as non-permanent judges of the Court of Final Appeal, the highest appellate court in Hong Kong.



Fair and open elections were held in 1998 and 2000 to return representatives to the Legislative Council.



Monetary and financial policies remain entirely within the control of the HKSAR. During the Asian financial crisis in 1998, the defence of the Hong Kong Dollar link and the financial markets was conducted entirely from within Hong Kong.



Since reunification, the HKSAR has concluded about 60 binding bilateral agreements on its own with various countries. In addition, about 70 bilateral agreements concluded before reunification remain effective. Major areas covered include air services, investment promotion and protection, surrender of fugitive offenders, mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and transfer of sentenced persons. Others cover customs co-operation, co-operation on information technology and avoidance of double taxation. Many multilateral treaties that applied to Hong Kong before reunification continue to apply to the HKSAR. Many apply to Hong Kong only, but not the rest of China.

Apart from binding agreements, the HKSAR also enters into non-binding arrangements with other countries, territories or international organisations. These arrangements are often in the form of a memorandum of understanding covering a wide spectrum of topics such as co-operation in information and communication technology, visa abolition, environmental protection and cultural co-operation.



The HKSAR participates in international organisations and conferences in various capacities. HKSAR Government representatives participate as members of PRC delegations in international organisations and conferences limited to states, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Telecommunications Union.

Using the name 'Hong Kong, China', the HKSAR participates on its own as a full member in international organisations and conferences not limited to states, including the World Trade Organisation, the World Customs Organisation, the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum and the Asian Development Bank.


The Bank for International Settlements Representative Office for Asia and the Pacific, the International Finance Corporation Regional Office for East Asia and the Pacific and the World Bank Private Sector Development Office for East Asia and the Pacific are located in Hong Kong. In addition, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees also have offices in the Hong Kong SAR.





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