Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. It enjoys a high degree of autonomy as enshrined in the Basic Law, the constitutional document governing the political, judicial and economic framework of Hong Kong as well as guaranteeing its capitalistic way of life. The Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China is responsible for foreign affairs and defence.
Hong Kong has been part of China since ancient times; it was ceded to the United Kingdom after a series of wars in the 19th century. On 19 December 1984, the Chinese and British Governments signed the Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong, affirming that the Government of the People's Republic of China would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong with effect from 1 July 1997.
A Special Administrative Region was established on 1 July 1997 under the principle of "One Country, Two Systems". Hong Kong's capitalist system and life-style shall remain unchanged for 50 years.