Indigenous inhabitants of the New Territories (Hong Kong)

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This article is about natives of Hong Kong. For other indigenous inhabitants, see indigenous peoples.

Indigenous inhabitants[1] refers to the residents in the New Territories of Hong Kong, whose ancestors were inhabitants there before the commencement of British rule in 1898 and have special rights to preserve their customs. When the sovereignty of Hong Kong was transferred from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China in 1997, these special rights were preserved under the Hong Kong Basic Law.

Article 40 of the Basic Law
The lawful traditional rights and interests of the indigenous inhabitants of the "New Territories" shall be protected by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Non-indigenous inhabitant (非原居民) is a resident in the New Territories of Hong Kong, whose ancestors were not inhabitants there before the commencement of British rule in 1898 and do not have the same special rights as the indigenous inhabitants.

Special rights[edit]

Special rights are restricted to the village that the indigenous inhabitant is from. In order to protect the tradition of villages, male indigenous inhabitants have the right to apply for small house, known as ting uk (丁屋) in Cantonese. Properties are only inherited by male members of a village.

People living on boats[edit]

People have been living on boats in the New Territories for generations, and they do not usually own land or houses. They have no special rights because the Hong Kong government since 1898 only recognises established villages.

Conflicts between indigenous and non-indigenous inhabitants[edit]

As a result of a large influx of non-indigenous inhabitants into the rural villages, conflicts between indigenous and non-indigenous inhabitants are surfacing. Because the management of a village was only in the hand of indigenous inhabitants, non-indigenous inhabitants could not participate in the matters of the village.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chinese: 原居民; Cantonese Yale: Yun4 Geui1 Man4.