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
systems to be practised in the HKSAR.
Under the Basic Law, the HKSAR enjoys a high degree of autonomy in
accordance with the principle of 'one country, two systems'. The HKSAR exercises
executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final
adjudication. The HKSAR's executive authorities and legislature are composed of
permanent residents of Hong Kong. The HKSAR remains 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.