BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- July 1 marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return from British rule and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) under the guidelines of "one country, two systems" and "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong."
Over the past 20 years, Hong Kong has remained a center of international finance, shipping and trade, recognized as the world's freest economy and most competitive region.
Following are some facts and figures about Hong Kong over the past two decades.
Hong Kong successfully weathered the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the international financial crisis in 2008. Over the past five years, Hong Kong's GDP grew more than a nominal 5 percent each year, said Tung Chee-hwa, the first chief executive of the HKSAR.
Over the past 20 years, Hong Kong has been improving its external ties, and international cooperation on finance and trade. HKSAR passport holders can travel visa-free or visa-on-arrival to more than 150 countries and regions, said Song Ru'an, deputy commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in the HKSAR.
Hong Kong has attended about 1,600 international conferences as a member of the Chinese government delegation, and the central government has successfully supported Hong Kong in expanding external exchanges and cooperation, Song said.
In the past 20 years, Hong Kong's stock market capitalization gained by more than seven times, the number of listed companies rose more than twice, and the daily transaction volume went up by more than four times.
The number of mainland enterprises listed in Hong Kong went up by nine times in the past two decades. At the end of 1997, only 101 enterprises from the mainland were listed in Hong Kong, 15 percent of the total number of listed companies or 20 percent of the market capitalization.
At the end of 2016, 1,002 enterprises from the mainland were listed in Hong Kong, 51 percent of the total number of the listed companies or 63 percent of the market capitalization.
From 2012 to 2017, Hong Kong's economy has seen moderate growth and a receding inflation as the HKSAR government maintained a sound fiscal position; the working population increased in total by 160,000, while the unemployment rate remained at a very low level.
The commissioner's office has been improving mechanisms to safeguard overseas fellow countrymen from Hong Kong. The central government has dealt with 12,000 cases related to consular protection of Hong Kong people including about 800 cases in 2016, said Song.