Hong Kong–United States relations

Hong Kong–United States relations(港美關係) are bilateral relations between Hong Kong and the United States.

According to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 44% of Hong Kong people approve of U.S. leadership, with 38% disapproving and 18% uncertain.[1]

Hong Kong – United States relations
Map indicating locations of Hong Kong and USA

Hong Kong

United States
Diplomatic mission
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office,Washington, D.C.United States Consulate General, Hong Kong


Hong Kong Hong Kong United States United States
Populations 7,234,800 319,435,700
Literacy Rate 95.7% 99%
Area 1,104 km² (426 sq mi) 9,857,306 km² (3,805,927 sq mi)
Population density 6,544/km² (17,024/sq mi) 34.2/km² (88.2/sq mi)
Capital Admiralty Washington, District of Colombia
Largest city (district) Shatin New York City
Government Multi-party system Federal, Presidential, Constitutional Republic
Current leader Chief Executive Carrie Lam President Donald Trump
Official languages English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin dialects) No official language at Federal level (English de facto)
Main religions Non-religious and folk religion 47.5%, Buddhism 21.3%, Taoism 14.2%, Christianity 11.8%, Islam 4.1%, Others 2% 70.6% Christianity (46.5% Protestantism, 20.8% Catholicism, 1.6% Mormonism, 1.7% Other Christianity), 22.8% Non-religious, 1.9% Judaism, 0.9% Islam, 0.7% Buddhism, 0.7% Hinduism[2]
GDP (nominal) $310.074 billion ($42,437 per capita) $16.768 Trillion ($53,001 per capita)
GDP (PPP) $484 billion ($64,974 per capita) $16.768 Trillion ($53,001 per capita)
Military expenditures $188.0 billion (Mainland China's) $664.84 billion (2011)[3][4]

Leaders of Hong Kong and the United States from 1997


U.S. policy toward Hong Kong, grounded in a determination to promote Hong Kong's prosperity, autonomy, and way of life, is stated in the U.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, which stipulated that the U.S. would continue to treat Hong Kong apart from the People's Republic of China even after the 1997 transfer of sovereignty marking the end of British rule. The United States maintains substantial economic and political interests in Hong Kong. The United States supports Hong Kong's autonomy by concluding and implementing bilateral agreements; promoting trade and investment; arranging high-level visits; broadening law enforcement cooperation; bolstering educational, academic, and cultural links; and supporting the large community of U.S. citizens and visitors.

Hong Kong is an active member of the global coalition against terrorism, and has joined the Container Security Initiative and remains an important partner with regard to eliminating funding for terrorist networks and combating money laundering. Hong Kong has passed legislation designed to bring it into compliance with applicable UN anti-terror resolutions and Financial Action Task Force recommendations.

Trachemys Scripta Elegans 02
Hong Kong is No. 1 export destination for American turtles.[5]

The United States has substantial economic and social ties with Hong Kong. There are some 1,100 U.S. firms, including 881 regional operations (298 regional headquarters and 593 regional offices), and about 54,000 American citizens in Hong Kong. According to U.S. Government statistics, U.S. exports to Hong Kong totaled $17.8 billion in 2006. U.S. direct investment in Hong Kong at the end of 2006 totaled about $38.1 billion, making the United States one of Hong Kong's largest investors, along with China, Japan, and the Netherlands.

The United States and Hong Kong signed a civil aviation agreement in October 2002, which significantly liberalised the aviation market. Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy as a separate customs territory, with no changes to borders, staffing, or technology export controls since the 1997 handover. Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection has improved substantially in recent years and the introduction of effective new legislation to control illicit production and improved enforcement has now made Hong Kong a regional model for effective IPR protection. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other U.S. agencies now regularly cite Hong Kong as an example for others.

The Hong Kong government maintains Economic and Trade Offices in Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco.

The United States Consulate General Hong Kong is located at 26 Garden Road, Hong Kong. Despite the name, the Consulate General is not subordinate to their country's embassy to the PRC in Beijing. The Consul-General of the United States holds ambassadorial rank, and reports to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs in the US Department of State.[6] By contrast, the US Consuls-General posted to Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang report to the Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Beijing who is directly subordinate to the US ambassador.

Edward Snowden

The Edward Snowden incident in 2013 had been a diplomatic crisis between Hong Kong and United States. On May 20, 2013, Edward Snowden, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, arrived in Hong Kong. He leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in Hong Kong in early June. Snowden disclosed that "the United States government has committed a tremendous number of crimes against Hong Kong. The PRC as well,"[7] going on to identify Chinese Internet Protocol addresses that the NSA monitored and stating that the NSA collected text-message data for Hong Kong residents.[8] On June 22, U.S. officials revoked his passport.[9] On June 23, Snowden boarded a commercial flight to Moscow.[10][11]

The incidence had proven to be a rare diplomatic conflict between Hong Kong and the United States. The United States has extradition treaties with more than 100 countries, excluding People's Republic of China and Republic of China but including Hong Kong, due to Hong Kong's autonomy in developing relations with foreign nations in a broad range of appropriate fields.[12] Snowden, however, had not been detained by Hong Kong as requested by the United States. Hong Kong authorities said that it was because the United States' extradition request had not fully complied with Hong Kong law,[13][14] and there was no legal basis to prevent Snowden from leaving.[15][16][Notes 1] On June 24, U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said "we're just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official. This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant ... though the Privacy Act prohibits me from talking about Mr. Snowden's passport specifically, I can say that the Hong Kong authorities were well aware of our interest in Mr. Snowden and had plenty of time to prohibit his travel."[19]

See also


  1. ^ Hong Kong's Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen argued that government officials did not issue a provisional arrest warrant for Snowden due to "discrepancies and missing information" in the paperwork sent by U.S. authorities. Yuen explained that Snowden's full name was inconsistent, and his U.S. passport number was also missing.[17] Hong Kong also wanted more details of the charges and evidence against Snowden to make sure it was not a political case. Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen said he spoke to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder by phone to reinforce the request for details "absolutely necessary" for detention of Snowden. Yuen said "As the US government had failed to provide the information by the time Snowden left Hong Kong, it was impossible for the Department of Justice to apply to a court for a temporary warrant of arrest. In fact, even at this time, the US government has still not provided the details we asked for."[18]


  1. ^ U.S. Global Leadership Project Report - 2012 Gallup
  2. ^ "America's Changing Religious Landscape". Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  3. ^ Updated Summary Tables, Budget of the United States Government Fiscal Year 2010 (Table S.12) Archived July 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Department of Defense" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 7, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  5. ^ Declared Turtle Trade From the United States: Destinations (data for 2002-2005)
  6. ^ Christopher J. Marut Appointed as Director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan, American Institute in Taiwan, May 8, 2012
  7. ^ Lana Lam (June 12, 2014) Edward Snowden in Hong Kong South China Morning Post
  8. ^ Eli Lake (June 25, 2013) Greenwald: Snowden's Files Are Out There if 'Anything Happens' to Him The Daily Beast
  9. ^ US revokes NSA leaker Edward Snowden's passport, as he reportedly seeks asylum in Ecuador Fox News Channel June 23, 2013
  10. ^ Shane, Scott (June 23, 2013). "Offering Snowden Aid, WikiLeaks Gets Back in the Game". The New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  11. ^ Makinen, Julie (June 23, 2013). "Snowden leaves Hong Kong; final destination unclear". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ "9-15.100 International Extradition and Related Matters: Definition and General Principles". United States Attorneys' Manual. U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  13. ^ Perlez, Jane; Bradsher, Keith (June 24, 2013). "China Said to Have Made Call to Let Leaker Depart". The New York Times. p. A9 (US edition).
  14. ^ "HKSAR Government issues statement on Edward Snowden" (Press release). Hong Kong Government. June 23, 2013.
  15. ^ "Snowden left HK lawfully: CE". Hong Kong Information Services Department. June 24, 2013.
  16. ^ "No delay in Snowden case: SJ". Hong Kong Information Services Department. June 25, 2013.
  17. ^ "Hong Kong did not assist Snowden's departure". Global Post. Agence France-Presse. June 25, 2013. Archived from the original on July 12, 2013. Yuen also said there were discrepancies and missing information in documents used to identify Snowden. 'On the diplomatic documents, James was used as the middle name, on the record upon entering the border, Joseph was used as the middle name, on the American court documents sent to us by the American Justice department, it only said Edward J Snowden,' he said. Hong Kong authorities also noticed that documents produced by the U.S. did not show Snowden's American passport number.
  18. ^ Luk, Eddie (June 26, 2013). "Justice chief spells it out". The Standard. Hong Kong. Archived from the original on August 22, 2013.
  19. ^ Daily Press Briefing United States Department of State June 24, 2013
Consulate General of the United States, Hong Kong and Macau

The Consulate General of the United States, Hong Kong and Macau represents the United States in the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China.It has been located at 26 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong since the late 1950s. The current Consul General is Kurt W. Tong, who has served since July 2016.Due to Hong Kong and Macau's special status, and in accordance with the United States–Hong Kong Policy Act, the U.S. Consulate General to Hong Kong operates as an independent mission, with the Consul General as the "Chief of Mission" (with title of "Ambassador)". The Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau is not under the jurisdiction of the United States Ambassador to China, and reports directly to the U.S. Department of State as do other Chiefs of Mission, who are Ambassadors in charge of Embassies.All recent Consuls-General are at the Career Minister rank in the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, whereas many other Ambassadors are only Minister Counsellor.

Edward Snowden

Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American whistle-blower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments, and prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy.

In 2013, Snowden was hired by an NSA contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, after previous employment with Dell and the CIA. Snowden says he gradually became disillusioned with the programs with which he was involved and that he tried to raise his ethical concerns through internal channels but was ignored. On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii, and in early June he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill. Snowden came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post. Further disclosures were made by other publications including Der Spiegel and The New York Times.

On June 21, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property, following which the Department of State revoked his passport. Two days later, he flew into Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, where Russian authorities noted that his U.S. passport had been cancelled, and he was restricted to the airport terminal for over one month. Russia later granted Snowden the right of asylum with an initial visa for residence for one year, and repeated extensions have permitted him to stay at least until 2020. In early 2016, he became the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, an organization that aims to protect journalists from hacking and government surveillance. As of 2017, he was living in an undisclosed location in Moscow.

Foreign relations of Hong Kong

Under the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is exclusively in charge of its internal affairs and external relations, whilst the Government of the People's Republic of China is responsible for its foreign affairs and defence. As a separate customs territory, Hong Kong maintains and develops relations with foreign states and regions, and plays an active role in such international organisations as World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in its own right under the name of Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong participates in 16 projects of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Foreign relations of the United States

The United States has formal diplomatic relations with most nations. This includes all UN member states and UN observer states other than (i) UN member states Bhutan, Iran, North Korea and Syria and (ii) the UN observer State of Palestine. Additionally, the U.S. has diplomatic relations with the European Union and Kosovo. The United States federal statutes relating to foreign relations can be found in Title 22 of the United States Code.

United States–Hong Kong Agreement for the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders

The United States–Hong Kong Agreement for the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders was an extradition treaty signed by the United States and Hong Kong in 1996.

United States–Hong Kong Policy Act

The United States–Hong Kong Policy Act or more commonly known as the Hong Kong Policy Act (P.L. no. 102-383m 106 Stat. 1448) is a 1992 act enacted by the United States Congress. It allows the United States to continue to treat Hong Kong separately from China for matters concerning trade export and economics control after the 1997 handover.

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