Bizarre Borders - Hong Kong & Macau

Samanyu Ram

November 4, 2022

One of the most controversial countries in the world currently is China. But controversy is nothing new to this powerful, historic nation. China has been at the forefront of controversy for centuries. Recently, some of their most impactful controversies lie in Hong Kong and Macau.    

Hong Kong is an area in Southern China known for its towering skyscrapers and luscious nature reserves. Hong Kong was originally part of the Qing Dynasty in China but was ceded to the British Empire in 1842 with the Treaty of Nanjing. After the second world war, Hong Kong began to grow economically. Waves of immigrants from China flooded the streets of Hong Kong. It went from a manufacturing hub to a bustling city with a thriving commercial and financial industry. Then, in 1997, the British returned Hong Kong to the Chinese. With China's adoption of the communist movement, chaos ensued. The political scene was different in the two regions because there was heavy British influence in Hong Kong. The implementation of Basic Law Article 23 meant that the population of Hong Kong had to be loyal to the Chinese Communist Party, which caused outrage and fierce riots. Since 1997 there have been many actions taken that screw Hong Kong such as the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation, which subjects the population of Hong Kong to a different legal system.

Similarly to Hong Kong, Macau is also a Special Administrative Region of China. In contrast, Macau is among the wealthiest regions on the planet and has a GDP per capita of $114,430. Also, Macau is the most densely populated region on Earth featuring 55,000 people per square mile. In 1557, Macau was rented out to the Portuguese as a trading post but remained under Chinese sovereignty. In 1887, 300 years later, Portugal and China came to an agreement that made Macau an official Portuguese territory. Yet again, with the Communist takeover of China, the treaty between them and Portugal was declared invalid. Macau was named a Chinese territory under the Portuguese administration. Then, in 1999, the Basic Law of the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China was adopted by the National People's Congress, providing China with full Sovereignty. Unlike Hong Kong, China had promised Macau full autonomy for the next fifty years until 2049. Soon, the gambling and casino industry skyrocketed and Macau was known as the Las Vegas of Asia. In recent times, Macau has diversified its economy and reconstructed some of its borders.