Hong Kong, SAR China Country Report
Hong Kong's autonomy in its internal governance has decreased over the past two years with Beijing asserting its authority over the region and openly threatening to revoke "one country, two systems". In March 2017, locally unpopular candidate Carrie Lam was voted as the new Chief Executive by a 1,194-person committee that is overwhelmingly loyal to Beijing. Lam's tenure begins on 1 July 2017. Under Lam, Beijing is expected to continue increasing its interference in Hong Kong political affairs. As a result of this and repeatedly frustrated peaceful dissent, pro-democracy protests are likely to gradually become more violent and disruptive. Police reinforcements can be quickly deployed from the mainland and will prevent significant property damage, even if protesters clash withpro-Beijing demonstrators.
Government intervention in the market has traditionally been minimal; the territory's first anti-monopoly regulation only took effect in December 2015. The legal system, based on English common law, will continue to attract foreign investors to Hong Kong. Tax rates are low, with no tariff barriers.
The threat from terrorism is low in Hong Kong. There has been little indication of Hong Kong being a main target for terrorist groups. The authorities have stepped up security, mainly at airports and cargo ports. The Hong Kong police conduct regular counter-terrorism drills and training exercise.
Hong Kong has no border disputes with nearby countries and faces no immediate risk of war. The mainland Chinese military maintains about 5,000 lightly armed troops in Hong Kong and is capable of rapidly deploying thousands more to defend the financial centre.
Political activism has risen during recent years, and large-scale protests involving thousands of students and other residents have been common. However, the increasingly low turnout in the annual 1 July protests indicates that pro-democracy groups are finding it difficult to rally large crowds, who are increasingly fatigued by the lack of progress through peaceful expression. This increases the likelihood of more violent and disruptive means of protests, especially following the recent disqualification of pro-independence legislators and arrest of pro-democracy advocates. Given strong security apparatus and little support for radical political groups, the risks of business disruptions from unrest are low.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Japanese Encephalitis: For stays of longer than one month in a rural zone during the rainy season (for children over the age of one). The vaccine is administered in a local medical facility.
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Travelers should take note that Hong Kong is predominantly threatened by two natural hazards: typhoons and earthquakes.
Typhoons can strike the region at any time of the year but are most common during the monsoon season (July to November), with a peak of storms in the last weeks of August and the first weeks of September. The government is well aware of this risk and a system of alerts is in place; the population is informed when a typhoon is within 800 km (500 mi) of Hong Kong’s coasts. The alert system also warns residents of other types of storms, landslides, and floods. During the monsoon season, visitors should follow local media reports to keep informed of any approaching storms. Over the past few years, no typhoons have led to high numbers of casualties; nevertheless, material damages from such weather events can be significant. On July 24, 2013, Typhoon Vincente, with gusts above 150 kph (93.2 mph), was the strongest storm to hit the region in over 15 years, although no deaths or major property damages were reported.
Moreover, Hong Kong is located in an active seismic zone; the region was struck by a series of relatively minor earthquakes between March 2005 and September 2006. While no major earthquakes have been observed in the area, the risk of a tsunami would be significant if one were to occur.
Hong Kong's climate is dominated by seasonal monsoon winds that bring rain from May until September. During the winter days are mild and evenings cool but temperatures never fall below freezing. Summers are hot, humid, and rainy, particularly in July and August (cyclone season).
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