Mean January and July temperatures are 16°C and 28°C. 90% of the average rainfall of 215 mm falls between April and October. Typhoons occur between July and October.
Chinese (effectively Cantonese) and English are the official languages of Hong Kong, and 98% of the people are ethnic Chinese. The most common religion is Chinese folk religion (49%), followed by Buddhism (21%) and Taoism (14%), though syncretism is common. In addition, about 11% of the population are Christian. The major non-Chinese elements of the population are from the Philippines, British Commonwealth countries, the USA, Portugal and Japan.
Since 1st July 1997 Hong Kong has been a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China. The constitution is known as the ‘Basic Law’ and is modelled on the constitution of the People's Republic. Under the guiding principle of ‘one country, two systems’ which was established before the handover the Chinese Government agreed that Hong Kong's capitalist system would remain unchanged until the year 2047. However, there has been recent Chinese interference in Hong Kong's democratic processes.
The SAR's administration is headed by a Chief Executive, appointed by China. The Chief Executive appoints the Executive Council of Government. A legislative body, the Legislative Council passes laws and controls expenditure; its members are elected but the arrangements are undemocratic, so that the Executive can control a majority. This arrangement, established by the British, has not been changed since the handover. The SAR maintains a common law system; the regulation and taxation of business and financial services follow Western patterns.
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