Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on July 1, 1997. The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) came into effect on the same day. The Basic Law prescribes the system to be practised in the HKSAR.
Under the Basic Law, the HKSAR shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy except in those matters relating to defence, foreign affairs as well as other matters outside the limits of Hong Kong's autonomy. Under the Basic Law, the HKSAR shall exercise executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. The HKSAR's executive authorities and legislature shall be composed of permanent residents of Hong Kong. The HKSAR shall remain a free port, a separate customs territory and an international financial centre and 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 international organisations in the appropriate fields, including the economic, trade, financial and monetary, shipping, communications, tourism, cultural and sports fields.