Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港) is a special administrative region (SAR) of China, situated on the south coast of China. One of the most densely populated places in the world, Hong Kong has a population of about 7 million, made up of 95% ethnic Chinese (mostly from the southern Chinese province of Guangdong) and 5% from other groups. Its official languages are English and Chinese, and the most commonly spoken language is Cantonese (a Chinese dialect).
Hong Kong became a British colony after imperial China lost to Britain in the First Opium War in the mid 19th century and was forced to give Hong Kong to the British. The British expanded Hong Kong's boundaries from the main Hong Kong Island to the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories in the late 19th century. During World War II (1939-1945), Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese, after which the British resumed control. Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997.
Under the principle of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong has a different political system from mainland China, with the elected Chief Executive serving as the head of government. It is now a highly developed region and one of the world's leading international financial centres, with high standards of living.
Spanking in Hong Kong
Judicial corporal punishment (in the form of caning) was practised in Hong Kong during the British colonial period. It had been ordered by the courts for relatively serious offences, on juvenile and adult males, usually but not always in addition to a prison term. Caning sentences were frequent in the 1950s but gradually declined to a handful per year in the 1980s.
Under British legislation, the courts could sentence an offender to a maximum of 18 strokes of the cane. The implement used was a metre-long light rattan cane, administered on the buttocks. These rules were applicable to males above the age of 16 but younger boys could also be sentenced to caning. According to reports, the offender was secured by leather straps in a bent-over position on a wooden platform (possibly a whipping frame) with his pants down. Another leather strap was tied around his back to protect the spine. Bleeding sometimes occurred. These accounts suggest that the modus operandi was similar to that of judicial canings in modern Singapore, but probably not as severe.
Canings were also administered in reformatories but the punishment was applied to the offender's buttocks over clothing, and not on the bare.
Judicial corporal punishment was abolished in Hong Kong in 1990 and has been officially banned in China since 1949.
- Pictures of the equipment used for judicial canings in Hong Kong, from World Corporal Punishment Research.
- Video clip of a man demonstrating the use of the cane in a prison museum, from the same website.
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