Warmest welcome for surfing the website of the forthcoming 9th Global Conference of the Alliance for Healthy Cities to be held on 3rd – 5th November 2021 in Hong Kong SAR, China. The theme on this occasion is “Smarter Healthy Cities Beyond COVID-19 (Webinar)”. As a host city for this event, may we show you the facets of life in Hong Kong from a different perspective? Not only do we anticipate keeping you abreast of the latest developments in Hong Kong, but we do also hope you will come visit us after the pandemic.
Hong Kong, renownedly known as the “Pearl of the Orient”, or in Chinese dialect phonetically sounds as “fragrant harbour”, is geographically situated on the southern coast of China. Despite its size only covering 1,110.18 square kilometres, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, home to over 7.51 million residents. Despite Hong Kong being a crowded city predominantly Han Chinese (92%), together with people of a vast range of multi-nationalities; they generally live harmoniously together in this city and enjoy their unique way of living. No matter if they are the majority Chinese or the ethnic minorities, they all have freedom and equal opportunities to receive education, medical services, job opportunities, as well as enjoy and respect the freedom of speech and religions.
Most people in Hong Kong speak three languages, namely Cantonese, English and Putonghua. One will not be surprised to learn that many ethnic groups or foreigners speak fluent Cantonese and Putonghua. They might even visit and pay respect in the Chinese temples, such as Wong Tai Sin Temple for blessings of health and wealth. This exemplifies the blending of culture and traditions in a place like Hong Kong of “East meets West”. Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate which is characteristic of the Southern China region. Summers are hot and humid with occasional showers and thunderstorms; temperature often exceeds 30 degrees Celsius in summer. Winters are dry and cool, with temperatures lying at around 15 degrees Celsius. It is uncommon for temperatures to drop below 10 degrees Celsius in urban areas, except during occasional cold fronts. Due to these fairly stable climatic conditions, it attracts many visitors to Hong Kong for outdoor activities, such as trail walking, cycling, bird watching, dolphin watching and adventure tours to the outlying islands.
While Hong Kong is famous for its glamorous skyscraper that constructed the skyline, many locations within the densely populated urban areas are landmarks and icons which attracts Hollywood film shooting in Hong Kong, the world-class rock structures are just less than an hour drive from the city centre. The continentality of Hong Kong facilitated weathering and erosion of the coastline producing rare and distinct landforms. In July 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), upon assessment, officially approved the membership as a global geopark and a member of the Global Geoparks Network. The age of the rock structures could be traced back to over 140 million years ago, how amazing!
Hong Kong as a duty-free port is a famous shopping paradise with thousands of shopping attractions. Be that inside the air-conditioned posh designed high-end shopping arcades in Central, Causeway Bay or Tsim Sha Tsui, or the hawkers stalls in Mong Kok or Temple Street, the goods and fashion on offer do satisfy consumers of all walks of life. Probably, we should show you another perspective of Hong Kong in the capacity as a visitor, a new spectrum of attractions was introduced in recent years, such as the Xiqu Centre (Opera house) and the M+ Museum situated at the West Kowloon Cultural District, and the Hong Kong Palace Museum to-be-opened in 2022. Surely, one will not miss the cultural and heritage celebrations, as well as the seasonal festive activities, such as the parade on Tin Hau’s Birthday, the Bun Scrambling Contest in Cheung Chau Da Jiu Festival, or a tour of the fish village in Tai O to appreciate the scenic views of the “Venice of the Orient”.
There is a popular idiom “Food is God of the People, 民以食為天”. Hong Kong is famous for the establishment of countless restaurants and eateries of different cuisines. Be it Western food or Eastern food, you can easily indulge yourself with excellent cuisine in a Michelin restaurant or mouth watery food in a back street restaurant. It is not exaggerating to say that one might take a lifetime to sample all kinds of food in Hong Kong.
The public transportation network is another achievement in Hong Kong. The MTR networks link up all corners between the rural and urban areas. Other transport facilities such as buses, public light buses (minibus), tram, ferries make travelling from place to place comfortable and efficient. The travellers might enjoy the convenience of taking the airport express train on arrival or departure at Hong Kong, as well as the concession packages when riding on these public transports.
Despite encountering a year of difficulties since the social instability and chaos in June 2019, upon the introduction of the National Security Law in July 2020 has restored mostly the law and order in Hong Kong. We could see the impacts of these riots have dramatically reduced. When the prevailing pandemic situation improves, we would anticipate a positive economic recovery which could ease the pressure suffered by the general public in the past two years.
We are proud to share that Hong Kong as a well-developed international economic and financial centre, its unique position as China’s Special Administrative Region, complement by its proximity to Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao (Greater Bay Area) has
facilitated Hong Kong’s ongoing development in innovation and technology, financial services, transportation and logistics, CEPA and professional services, as well as international legal and dispute resolution services.
As per the 2021 World Population Review, out of 193 countries, the life expectancy for the people in Hong Kong is ranked Number One in the world with males and females standing at 82 years and 88 years respectively. Furthermore, the infant mortality rate is the lowest worldwide. Good quality healthcare and positive social conditions in Hong Kong are two main factors contributing to the high life expectancy; this is despite Hong Kong spending less on both health and social care as a proportion of GDP than other countries such as the USA and the United Kingdom. With the recent report in the Economist, Hong Kong has topped the “Normalcy Index”. It is hopeful that all people in Hong Kong continue to observe the stipulated rules on social distancing, coronavirus testing, and vaccination. Hong Kong is the closest to normalcy based on the overall 96% return to pre-pandemic activity levels.
There are over 6 million Hong Kong citizens registered for the Consumption Voucher Scheme, the economy and spending power in Hong Kong will definitely be boosted when the vouchers are credited into the citizen’s individual accounts. Although wealth and happiness cannot be linked up equally, still, this is a good incentive for the post-pandemic time to come.
Hong Kong, keep on staying VIBRANT and HEALTHY and we welcome you all!
AFHC China Hong Kong Chapter