By Quinn, Nation, and Millett
Published here with authors’ permission
ReadOasis Step 2
How to use this course for free
Hong Kong is the name of an island off the coast of mainland China. The biggest and most important city on Hong Kong is Victoria, but not many people use this name. People usually call the city Hong Kong too. Even though Hong Kong is small, only about 1000 square kilometers, around seven million people live there today. Hong Kong has a very interesting history. Many years ago the island of Hong Kong belonged to China and now it belongs to China again. However, for more than 150 years, Hong Kong was ruled by the British.
Hong Kong has a very good port and in the middle of the 19th century, British ships often stopped there. They came to China to trade. However, in 1839 a war began between China and Britain which continued for three years. In 1842 the Chinese and the British held a meeting which ended the war. At the meeting, the island of Hong Kong was given to Britain. Fifty years later, in 1898, China gave the area around Hong Kong to the British for 99 years. In 1997 the British returned Hong Kong to China but it was a very different place from the deserted island of 150 years ago.
Not many people lived in Hong Kong when it was first given to Britain. Most of the people were Chinese farmers and fishermen and soon more Chinese arrived. Some of them left China because they could not find work there and others came to Hong Kong when there was a war in China. All of these people came to find a better life for themselves and their children. Besides the Chinese, many other people came. They came from India, Britain, Holland and many other countries. After some years they began to think of Hong Kong as their home and they began to work hard for their new home. They too wanted to make a better life for their families.
People began to build factories and many kinds of things were produced such as clothes, medicine, machines and radios. These things were not only sold in Hong Kong but also to many other countries. Hong Kong soon became famous as a world centre for buying and selling, and it has continued to get stronger and stronger.
In 1997 when Britain returned Hong Kong to China, there were many differences between the Hong Kong way of life and the Chinese way of life and people thought there might be some problems. Many people from Hong Kong didn’t want to live by the Chinese rules. Meetings between the leaders of both countries were held and it was decided that Hong Kong would be ruled by “One country, two systems”. This meant that Hong Kong people could continue to live in the way that they had, while being a part of China.
Today Hong Kong is a world centre for trade and banking. There are world famous universities teaching in both English and in the Chinese language of Cantonese. The port is one of the finest in the world and the beautiful city of Victoria is built on the surrounding hills. For the visitor Hong Kong offers both East and West. You can go shopping, try food from many different countries, visit interesting places, and have a great time.