20 years ago today, Hong Kong ended more than 150 years of colonial rule

1 July 2017: Today marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s independence from British rule.

After 156 years of British rule, Hong Kong was finally declared independent of Her Majesty’s Empire on 1 July 1997. However, after 20 years of trying to find its footing between being under China rule and its own sovereignty, Hong Kong has fought for further independence. To reassure Hong Kongers of where they stand, President Xi Jinping of China visited the city island today, delivering a tough speech warning against disputes toward the government.

Putting politics aside, we’ve compiled a list of 20 facts about Hong Kong to mark its anniversary of British politics.

1. Hong Kong directly translates to “Fragrant Harbor.” The city was so named due to its deep-water harbor, which has been at the heart of Hong Kong’s success as a financial and trade hub.

2.  Hong Kong has the sixth highest life expectancy in the world. People live up to an average of over 81 years in Hong Kong. In comparison, the US has a life expectancy of 78 years, earning it a ranking of 50th in the world.

3. Religion is very prevalent in Hong Kong. Whilst only 10% of the population in Hong Kong is Christian, the remaining 90% are Buddhist, Taoist or practice other local religions.

4. The world’s most expensive bottles of wine were sold in Hong Kong. Each bottle sold for USD232,692 at an auction in Hong Kong.

5. ‘Dim Sum’ actually mean something. Directly translated, the popular lunchtime choice means “touch the heart”.

6. Mongkok has the world’s highest population density. The area, which is famous for its Ladies’ Market has an average of 130,000 people per square kilometre.

7. Hong Kong is home to the most skyscrapers in the world. With 8,000 buildings having more than 14 floors, Hong Kong has almost double the number of skyscrapers than New York.

8. Hong Kongers consumes triple the world average of tea. At a total of 9.8 million kilograms per year, the average Hong Konger consumes 1.4kg of tea annually. Furthermore, the world’s most expensive tea can be found in Hong Kong – Iron Buddha costs HKD20,000 per kg.

9. The city has the highest IQ average of 107.

10.  Tsing Ma Bridge, which is found in Hong Kong, is the longest suspension bridge in the world. Spanning 1377 meters, the rail and traffic bridge is 100m longer than San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

11. Hong Kong’s Peak is the most expensive place to buy property. HKD350 million will only buy you a 4,600 square foot villa.

12. Pineapple buns don’t contain any pineapple. Although the popular Hong Kong snack may suggest it contains pineapple, it only earned its named due to its pineapple-like crust.

13. Hong Kong actually has 263 islands. Hong Kong Island is often referred to as ‘Hong Kong’, but the city is actually comprised of many islands. However, not all of them are reachable. Nonetheless, ferry trips to Lantau, Cheung Chau and Lamma are encouraged.

14. Kowloon means ‘nine dragons’.  ‘Kow’ sounds like ‘gau’, which means nine in Cantonese, and ‘Loon’ sounds like ‘lung’, which means dragon. The area was named nine dragons after a young emperor noticed that there were eight hills in the area and decided to name the land ‘eight dragons’. However, his servant added that the emperor should also be considered a dragon, making nine dragons in total.

15. Hong Kong has more Rolls Royces per person than any other region in the world.

16. A Portuguese man named Jorge Alvarez was the first recorded foreigner to set foot in Hong Kong.

17. The founder of fiber optic communications, Professor Charles Kao, is a Hong Konger.

18. Sea water is used to flush toilets in Hong Kong.

19. There are no legal restrictions in Hong Kong prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors.

20. Burials in public cemeteries must be exhumed after 6 years by law. To combat overcrowding and high real estate in Hong Kong, buried remains must be collected privately for cremation. Unclaimed remains are exhumed and cremated by the government.

Still think you know Hong Kong well? Try our ‘How much do you know about Hong Kong?’ quiz!