Hong Kong (1997)

Hong Kong is divided into four main areas: Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, the New Territories and the many outlying islands.

Hong Kong Island became a British colony in 1842 when British gunboats destroyed the Chinese fleet during the First Opium War. Following the Second Opium War in 1860, the British took control of the Kowloon peninsula, and in l898 the British & Chinese signed a 99-year lease for the New Territories and the outlying islands.

Hong Kong's economy is based on trade with the West and China; 75% of the employment is in service industries like banking, telecommunications and tourism. With a free enterprise system and income tax set at a maximum of 15% it is a capitalist's paradise.

Hong Kong is technology - every household has a TV and nearly every child knows how to write computer programs. Yet, by contrast, the abacus is still commonly used as a commercial instrument. Hong Kong is a strange mix of both past and future - towering skyscrapers of glass and steal are assembled inside a rickety cocoon of bamboo scaffolding.

While the citizens of Hong Kong Island are ultra modern and subject to fashion and the latest trends, the people of the mountains and outlying islands have kept to the older ways. The islands are littered with religious shrines, traditional festivals and ancient rituals.

On the first of July l997 Hong Kong returned to Chinese control ...these photographs were taken in the months prior to the hand-over...it is hoped that the Chinese will follow Hong Kong's diversified path rather than Hong Kong having to become more like mainland China.

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