A ferry with flags marking the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland sails at the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, south China, June 22, 2022. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)
HONG KONG, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Since its return to the motherland in 1997, Hong Kong has made significant progress in the fields of politics, economy, livelihood, society and culture.
The following facts and figures offer a glimpse of Hong Kong's development achievements over the past 25 years.
-- The chief executive designate of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is elected by the Election Committee. The Committee membership has been expanded from 800 in 2002 to 1,200 in 2012 and to 1,500 in 2022. The number of sectors has been increased from four to five.
-- The Legislative Council (LegCo) of the HKSAR is constituted by election. Each of the first four terms of LegCo of the HKSAR after Hong Kong's return to the motherland had 60 seats. The fifth- and sixth-term LegCo of the HKSAR both had 70 seats.
The seventh-term LegCo of the HKSAR has 90 seats, with 40 elected by the Election Committee constituency, 30 by functional constituencies, and 20 by geographical constituencies.
-- The HKSAR Honors and Awards System was established by the HKSAR government in 1997.
The chief executive of the HKSAR has awarded 746 people on the 2021 honors list, including seven awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal, the highest award under the HKSAR Honors and Awards System.
Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, 109 Grand Bauhinia Medals have been awarded.
-- As of May 17, 2022, the number of foreign consulates in the HKSAR has increased from 88 to 119, including 63 Consulates-General, 56 Honorary Consulates, and six officially recognized bodies.
-- At present, 168 countries and territories have granted visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to HKSAR Passport holders.
-- By 2021, Hong Kong's gross domestic product (GDP) was 2.86 trillion Hong Kong dollars (about 364.31 billion U.S. dollars) in nominal terms. In 1997, Hong Kong's GDP was 1.37 trillion Hong Kong dollars (174.51 billion U.S. dollars). From 1997 to 2021, Hong Kong's GDP grew at an average annual rate of 2.7 percent in real terms.
-- Hong Kong's per capita GDP has gradually increased. Hong Kong's per capita GDP (in nominal terms) reached 387,100 Hong Kong dollars (49,310 U.S. dollars) in 2021 compared with 192,000 Hong Kong dollars (24,460 U.S. dollars) before Hong Kong's return to the motherland.
-- The average daily turnover of the spot stock market of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) was 15 billion Hong Kong dollars (1.91 billion U.S. dollars) in 1997 and 166.7 billion Hong Kong dollars (21.23 billion U.S. dollars) in 2021, respectively.
In 2021, the average daily turnover of Hong Kong Stock Connect under Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect programs was 20.079 billion Hong Kong dollars (2.56 billion U.S. dollars) and 21.63 billion Hong Kong dollars (2.76 billion U.S. dollars), respectively.
The HKEX in 2021 raised a total of 42.297 billion U.S. dollars from its initial public offerings (IPOs), ranking fourth in the world.
-- The proportion of mainland enterprises in Hong Kong stocks has risen rapidly since 1997. As of April 2022, 1,370 mainland enterprises are listed in Hong Kong, accounting for 53.3 percent of the total number of companies listed on the HKEX and 77.7 percent of the total market capitalization, with a market value of 37.6 trillion Hong Kong dollars (4.79 trillion U.S. dollars).
-- The mainland has made great efforts to ensure the supply of goods and materials for people's livelihood in Hong Kong. Currently, Chinese companies supply more than 90 percent of Hong Kong's live pigs and cattle, 78 percent of its drinking water, 70 percent of its fresh livestock and poultry, 52 percent of its wheat flour and 42 percent of its oil and gas.
-- From mid-1997 to mid-2021, Hong Kong's population increased from more than 6.5 million to over 7.4 million, an increase of nearly 1 million over the past 25 years.
The population density in Hong Kong is one of the highest in the world, with an average of 6,801 people per square km in 2021.
-- Hong Kong has one of the highest life expectancy in the world. The average life expectancy in Hong Kong in 2021 (provisional figures) is 83.0 years for males and 87.7 years for females compared to 76.8 years and 82.2 years in 1997, up 6.2 years and 5.5 years, respectively.
-- Hong Kong is increasingly attractive to talents from home and abroad. The HKSAR government launched the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme in June 2006, and the annual quota was increased to 4,000 in 2021.
By the end of 2021, 36,689 applications from nearly 100 countries or regions had been received, among which 9,131 applications were approved.
-- The HKSAR government has always attached great importance to promoting volunteer work. From 1998 to 2018, the number of registered volunteers exceeded 1.3 million, meaning one in every five to six people in Hong Kong is doing volunteer work, and more than 3,250 organizations participated in volunteer services.
-- From 1997 to 2021, the number of cultural, recreational and sports facilities in Hong Kong continued to increase: the number of public libraries increased from 64 to 82 (both fixed and mobile), swimming pools from 32 to 44, stadiums from 74 to 102, football pitches from 291 to 317, and children's playgrounds from 596 to 665. ■