An important aspect of the relationship that has developed in recent years between Australia and Hong Kong is the bipartisan movement of people between the territory and Australia. Each year, about half a million people travel between Australia and Hong Kong. (31) In addition to sightseeing and the number of students who have been arriving in Australia for many years, Hong Kong has a large community of Australian connections. Hong Kong has about 30,000 Australian nationals and at least 2,000 permanent stay in Australia. The United Kingdom took control of parts of Hong Kong through three contracts with Qing China after the Opium Wars: the strongest argument for a successful economic and political transition is that it is in the chinese government`s interest that Hong Kong remain prosperous and politically stable. Hong Kong remains very important to the Chinese economy and the success demonstrated in the example of Hong Kong is crucial for China`s plans to achieve eventual reunification with Taiwan and Macao. China is also aware that regional countries such as Japan, the United States and the international community as a whole will be closely focused on the new Hong Kong SAR after July 1997. The provisions of the Basic Law guaranteeing Hong Kong`s separate identity under the « one country, two systems » formula indicate that Chinese leaders understand the importance of protecting the territory`s institutions for maintaining its viability. One of the most important achievements has been to ensure the continuity of the independent judicial system in Hong Kong, including agreements in the areas of commercial navigation, civil aviation, nuclear materials, whale fishing, underwater telegraph, space and many others.
It also agreed to a network of bilateral agreements between Hong Kong and other countries. Under these agreements, agreements were reached for the continued implementation of some 200 international conventions to HKSAR after 30 June 1997. Hong Kong is expected to continue to participate in various international organizations after the handover. 11 In the first four months of the agreement, 869 certificates of origin were applied for under the EPA and 813 were authorised, mainly in textiles and clothing (310 licensed) and pharmaceuticals (209). In the first quarter of 2004, the decline in exports of products from Hong Kong to China continued, but at a slower pace than in 2003 (-8.4% versus -11.9%), with no change attributable to the EPA. Between January 1 and May 21, 2004, the value of duty-free products was less than HK400 million (US$50 million). China`s parliament had previously passed a resolution authorizing the city`s executive to expel lawmakers who support Hong Kong independence, collusion with foreign forces or a threat to national security, without having to go to court. The agreement clearly shows that the Chinese government intends to offer Hong Kong a preferred means of accessing the Chinese banking market by 2007.
The EPA facilitates Hong Kong banks` access to the Chinese market and gives them a comparative advantage over foreign banks until the end of the WTO commitments timetable (see Appendix 3). However, it does not repeal all restrictions on the banking sector, particularly for renminbi transactions. For Hong Kong CEPA banks, much will depend on the ability of Hong Kong SAR`s CHIEF executive, Mr. Tung Chee-Hwa, to weigh the competing demands of the various factions of the party and the military against those of Hong Kong`s commercial interests and the pressure of the people within the territory for maximum autonomy and the protection of the rule of law and human rights. Tung will face a series of important decisions in the near future that will test its personal strength in implementing the autonomy of the RAD and the extent to which the Chinese authorities are prepared to give it real importance.