Is Hong Kong in? China

Protesters parade a large cut out of the head of C.Y. Leung, Hong Kong's Beijing-backed CEO, on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in Hong Kong.Hong Kong has enjoyed a special status since Great Britain’s return of the island nation to the Chinese. Operating under a policy known as “one country, two systems, ” the wealthy center of commerce benefited from more freedom and democracy than the mainland.

Protesters parade an oversized cut-out of the head of C.Y. Leung, Hong Kong's Beijing-backed CEO.
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China promised Hong Kong an expansion of its special status in 1997 – when residents expected to elect their leader without Chinese interference for the first time. In August, Beijing announced it wasn’t planning on carrying out the full promise. Although Hong Kong citizens would vote to elect their leader, the candidates would be vetted first.

A screenshot showing an Internet search forPresent protests against Chinese involvement in the election began Friday and intensified over the weekend when police met protesters with tear gas. Watchers have since dubbed the gatherings the “umbrella revolution” because of the umbrellas protesters used to shield themselves from tear gas.

It makes sense that Hong Kong would have different election procedures than mainland China. More than 100 years of British rule brought greater freedom and economic prosperity to the densely populated islands, making it one of the most important international financial centers in the world. Culturally, too, Hong Kong differs drastically from China.

A search for "Hong Kong protests" on the island's version of Google.

While mainland China speaks Putonghua as its official language, which is based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin, most Hong Kong residents trace their ancestry to the Guangdong province of China. Its official languages are Cantonese Chinese and English. More than 90 percent of residents are Chinese, but the island also houses immigrants from Indonesia and the Philippines. The island uses its own currency as well.

Western influence means there are more residents practicing Christianity – 10 percent in Hong Kong versus 5 percent in mainland China. The population is older (43.2 median age compared with China's 36.7), more urban (100 percent living in urban areas compared with half in China) and richer (the gross domestic product per capita is $52, 700 and $9, 800 in China).

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