Whether Hong Kong is a city or state?
The answer isnt simple as it may seem. With its own money, passport and legal system Hong Kong isnt quite Chinese but Chinese flags flying from its building and Beijing appointing its chief executive it isnt quite independent. In 1997, Hong Kong was hand over to China and before this it was a colony of the United Kingdom and ruled by governor. But today it is the SAR(Special Administrative Region) part of China. Hong Kongs constitution or the Basic Law says, as agreed between China and Great Britain that, Hong Kong will:
1. Retain its own currency (The HK Dollar)
2. Legal system
3. Parliament system
and all these for 50 years. Which means for all practical purposes Hong Kong is actually a separate country to China.
Visitors to Hong Kong who usually recieve visa free access will have to apply for visa to visit Hong Kong. Hong Kong and China maintians border between them. China maintains a sort of quasi embassy in Hong Kong, via the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs. Hong Kong Dollar isnt legal tender in China. It is not untrue to call it a country and incomparably freer and safer than main land China.
Even though Hong Kong satisfies all the requirement to be a state as mentioned in Article 1 of Montivideo Convention 1933, still we cant call it a state because Hong Kong isnt a independent country but just a province with lot of autonomy. (Macau also falls in the same boat as Hong Kong in that they are all part of China but under two separate system) . Foreign affairs and defens of Hong Kong is maintained by China.
Now the question arises if its not a country can we call it a city, the most valid answer seems the followed one which is mentioned in the official Govt. website of Hong Kong,
“Hong Kong is a city-state part of Greater China formerly British colony rented/leased from the Chinese govt. now under their control but with a lot more freedom than mainland Chine”
In dictionary meaning City-state means a state consisting of sovereign city (body, politic, country, nation, res publica, common wealth)- a politically organized body of people under a single govt. So it can be said that city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consist of a city, which is not administered as a part of another local government. As the terms the definition goes with the characteristics of Hong Kong so why Hong Kong can be termed as a city-state.
After regarding all there aspects it can be said that, Hong Kong is not actually a legal separate country, it behaves like one and is treated as one. So ultimately as its only meant to be a city though.
Source: Rizvi’z Blog