(Redirected from Hong Kongers)

Hongkongers (Chinese: 香港人), also known as Hong Kongese,[12] Hong Kong people and Hong Kong citizens, usually refer to the permanent residents of Hong Kong, in a broad sense. Very often, those terms are confined to describe Hong Kong permanent residents who are culturally associated with Hong Kong, especially through descent, birth or growth in Hong Kong, or other types of deep affiliations with Hong Kong, regardless of ethnicity or nationality. In legal terms, they are usually regarded as persons who are Permanent Residents (Chinese: 香港永久性居民; Cantonese Yale: Hèunggóng Wínggáusing Gēuimàhn) of Hong Kong and, depending on their nationality, are eligible for a Hong Kong SAR passport. In March 2014, the word "Hongkonger" was officially included in the Oxford English Dictionary.[13][14]

Total population
c. 7.33 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Hong Kong7,234,800[2]
 United States330,000[5]
 United Kingdom145,000[6]
Cantonese (first language),
Hong Kong English (second language),
Mandarin Chinese (second language)
Non-religious with veneration of the dead, Chinese folk religion, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity and other faiths
Related ethnic groups
Cantonese people, Macau people, Hoklo people, Hakka people, Teochew people, Shanghainese people

The majority of Hongkongers are of Cantonese and Han Chinese descent and most of them trace their ancestral roots to the former province of Canton); however, Hong Kongers of other descents such as Indians, Filipinos, Nepalese, Indonesians, Pakistanis, Vietnamese and British also make up a significant proportion of the identity.

In the years leading up to the 1997 transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China, many Hongkongers emigrated and settled in other parts of the world. As a result, the diaspora stretches across the globe. The largest diasporas of Hong Kongers are found in English-speaking countries, but there are many expatriates in the People's Republic of China. A second wave of mass emigration has emerged after the failure of the 2014 protests and the ongoing political crisis as integration with China continues.

Cultural identityEdit

Hong Kong's cultural identity had been fostered before the People's Republic of China declared a new state in East Asia in 1949. Major distinctions from the People's Republic of China are evident in the following areas: language, judicial system, street naming system, culture, customs area, international border control, system of governance, direction of driving, social attitudes and values and legal currency.

Until 30 June 1997, Hong Kong was formally a British crown colony (later renamed as British Dependent Territory). English was the lingua franca, as well as official language, used by all public institutions. The effigy of the reigning monarch was also present on the obverse of coins issued there. Local roads were also named after past British monarchs or famous English-speaking people. While it was an overseas territory, Hong Kong participated in a variety of organisations of the Commonwealth Family network. Hong Kong ended its participation with most Commonwealth Family organisations after the transfer of sovereignty; although still participates in the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association.

Due to increasing social and political tensions between Hong Kong and Mainland China and desinicisation in the territory, a recent poll found that most Hong Kong citizen identify themselves as 'Hongkongers', with an estimated figure of over 40%, while less than 27% identify themselves as 'Hongkongers in China' and less than 18% as 'Chinese'.[15][16] The identity crisis is further heightened by demographic changes, in which Chinese immigrants made up of a considerable portion of the population post-1997.


The terms Hongkonger, Hong Kongese and Hong Kong citizen all translate to the same Cantonese term, Hèung Góng Yàhn (Chinese: 香港人; Cantonese Yale: Hèung Góng Yàhn). The direct translation of this is "Hong Kong person"; however, the term Hongkonger is also frequently used. 香港人 may also be translated as "Hongkongan".[17]

In March 2014, "Hongkonger" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.[13][18] According to the Dictionary, the term "Hongkonger" appeared in an 1870 edition of US newspaper The Daily Independent.[19]

The term 'Hong Kong Chinese' was used during the British colonial era, when the British residing in Hong Kong made up a greater percentage of the population. It was common at that time to refer to an individual as 'Hong Kong Chinese' to differentiate them from a Hong Kong Briton.

Legal definition and right of abodeEdit

The Hong Kong Basic Law gives a precise legal definition of a Hong Kong resident. Under Article 24 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong residents can be further classified as permanent or non-permanent residents. Non-permanent residents are those who have the right to hold a Hong Kong Identity Card, but have no right of abode in Hong Kong. Permanent residents are those who have the right to hold a Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card as well as the right of abode.

The Basic Law allows residents to acquire right of abode by birth in Hong Kong, or in some other ways. For example, residents of China may settle in Hong Kong for family reunification purposes if they obtain a One-way Permit (for which there may be a waiting time of several years).

Unlike many countries, Hong Kong does not require applicants for naturalisation to take a citizenship or language test to become citizens.[20] However, Hong Kong migrants and residents are assumed to understand their obligation under Article 24 of the Hong Kong Basic Law to abide by the laws of Hong Kong.

Ethnicity and backgroundEdit

According to Hong Kong's 2016 census, 92% of its population is ethnically Chinese[21], with 32.1% having been born in Mainland China, Taiwan or Macau.[22] Historically, many Chinese people have migrated from areas such as Canton to Hong Kong, for example in the 1850s-60s as a result of the Taiping Rebellion[23][24] and in the 1940s prior to the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Thus, immigrants from Guangdong and their descendants have long constituted the majority of the ethnic Chinese residents of Hong Kong, which accounts for the city's broad Cantonese culture. The Cantonese language, a form of Yue Chinese, is the primary language of Hong Kong and that used in the media and education.[25] For that reason, while there are groups with ancestral roots in more distant parts of China such as Shanghai and Shandong, as well as members of other Han Chinese subgroups such as Hakka, Hokkien, and Teochew,[26][27][28][29] citizens who are Hong Kong-born and/or raised often assimilate the mainstream Cantonese identity of Hong Kong and typically adopt Cantonese as their first language.[30]

In addition to the Han Chinese majority, Hong Kong's minority population also comprises many other different ethnic and national groups, with the largest non-Chinese groups being Filipinos (1.9%) and Indonesians (also 1.9%).[26] There are long-established South Asian communities, which comprise both descendants of 19th and early 20th-century migrants as well as more recent short-term expatriates. South Asians include Indian, Pakistani, and Nepalese, who respectively made up 0.4%, 0.3%, and 0.2% of Hong Kong's population in 2011.[26] Smaller groups include Americans, Britons, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Japanese, Koreans, Russians, Vietnamese and Thais.[26][31] In 2011, 0.8% of Hong Kong's population were European, many (53.5%) of whom resided on Hong Kong Island, where they constitute 2.3% of the population.[32]

See alsoEdit

Hong Kong diaspora:

Expatriates living in Hong Kong:




  1. ^ "2016 Hong Kong Mid-term Demographics". Archived from the original on 6 November 2019. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 May 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ [1]
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  20. ^ Lai Tung-kwok (22 May 2013). "Application for naturalisation as a Chinese national". Legislative Council of Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.; quote: "However, it has to be pointed out that the knowledge of the Chinese language is only one of the factors to be considered. This does not imply that applicants who do not know Chinese will be refused, nor will those who know Chinese necessarily be eligible for naturalisation as Chinese nationals. ... At this stage, we have no plan to institute examinations similar to those used by some foreign countries in handling naturalisation applications."
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  27. ^ Melvin Ember; Carol R. Ember; Ian Skoggard, eds. (2005). Encyclopedia of diasporas: immigrant and refugee cultures around the world. Diaspora communities. 2. Springer. pp. 94–95. ISBN 978-0-306-48321-9.
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External linksEdit