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Hong Kong was captured by the English during the opium war of 1841. The island was relinquished to them by the 1854 Treaty of Nanking. The crown colony of Hong Kong was extended in 1860 with Kowloon on the mainland opposite the island. In 1898, the colony was further expanded with the New Territories that were rented from China. In 1956 Hong Kong got self-government. On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong was returned to China on expiry of the lease period of the New Territories. Guarantees were given for the continuity of the economic and political system of Hong Kong (in the so-called one country two systems policy). At the same time Hong Kong became a special administrative area: the "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region".
In the press comments on the transfer of sovereignty, the loss of Hong Kong for the English was characterized as the last step in the liquidation of the English (colonial) Empire with which also the era of colonialism was concluded.
The Public Seal of Hong Kong (traditional Chinese: 香港公印), formally known as Public Seal of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is the seal for certifying government documents and legislations. It is held by the Chief Executive.
Prior to the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997, it was known as the Public Seal of the Colony of Hong Kong, used to give authority to official documents and granting Royal Assent in Hong Kong. The Governor was the keeper of the seal.
The Governor of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong has possessed and used a public seal since 1843. Article VI of the Letters Patent of the Governor states that 'The Governor shall keep and use the Public Seal of the Colony for sealing all things whatsoever that shall pass the said Public Seal'.
On the seal of Hong Kong, used from 1843, are the English royal arms with underneath a view on Kowloon from Hong Kong, with on the quay Chinese and English traders and merchandise. A schooner and a junk sail in the water.
Great Seal for Hong-Kong.
From: The Illustrated London News (6 January 1844)
At the close of a brief article containing illustrations of Chinese guns and edged weapons captured by the British The Illustrated London News added an engraving of the medal above with the following description: “As an appropriate pendant to these national memorials of a war which we trust may never be resuscitated, we have added a cut, drawn, for the sake of clearness, on a scale somewhat larger than the original, of the great seal for Hong Kong. It is the first ever struck for the use of a British Sovereign in the Chinese dominions, and as such will be prized by the historian as much as it will interest the general reader. The design for it was made and the die sunk by Mr B. Wyon, her Majesty’s medallist in chief; and we regard the whole work as a successful, because suitable, effort of his established skill and iugenuily. The tablet at bottom displays a view of Hong Kong, with an English and Chinese vessel trading in the harbour. Ail colonial seals are, in this respect, designed on a similar principle.”
1939-1948 Public seal
The seal is engraved as follows. In the centre an oval medallion in which is depicted Hong Kong harbour with, in the foreground, a wharf with three people and five bales of merchandise on it; in the middleground, a Chinese junk under sail and a three-masted European-style sailing ship with bare yardarms; and in the background, mountains comprising the Peak District of Hong Kong. The medallion is encircled by a scroll surmounted with the Royal Arms and supporters and bearing the words 'Hong Kong' in the lower portion. Around the lower half of the medallion is a second scroll with the words 'KING DEFENDER OF THE FAITH EMPEROR OF INDIA'. Encircling the whole are the words 'GEORGE VI BY THE GRACE OF GOD OF GREAT BRITAIN IRELAND AND THE BRITISH DOMINIONS BEYOND THE SEAS'. On the side the seal bears the hallmark of the Royal Mint.
1949 - 1952 Public Seal
Following Indian independence in 1948, a Royal Proclamation gave notice that the words 'Emperor of India' were to be omitted from all instruments bearing the Royal Style and Title. In October 1948 the seal was withdrawn from use and replaced by another of a similar design but with the Royal Style and Title amended.
1952 - 1997 Public Seal
Queen Elizabeth II succeeded King George VI as the Queen of the United Kingdom. The Public Seal was revised to the current Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom with the Royal Style and Title amended.
ELIZABETH II – BY THE GRACE OF GOD OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN & NORTHERN IRELAND & OF HER OTHER REALMS & TERRITORIES QUEEN / HEAD OF THE COMMONWEALTH X DEFENDER OF THE FAITH X. / HONG KONG
Photo H.d.V. VI.1980
Seal of Hong Kong showing the Royal British achievement and a view of Kow Loon Bay
On a plate of a Hong Kong Company, Amsterdam
The colonial seal badge was in use since 1843 in one version or another until it was replaced by the coat of arms granted in 1959. Despite under several revisions, the idea of the seal remained. It depicted a local scene on the left foreground three local merchants and a pile of cargo on what appears to be a wharf. In the background are a square-rigged ship and a Chinese junk in the harbour backed by conical hills. 
The badge of Hong Kong, on the red and blue ensign, represented the lower part of the representation on the seal. The badge was adopted in 1866, along with the banner.
Hong Kong only received a coat of arms after the granting of self-government on 21 January 1959.
It is Argent with two bars wavyAzure in base, on which two golden junks respecting. In a chief embattled Gules a golden naval crown.
Crest: On a wreath, a crowned lion issuant Or langued and clawed Guleswith red tongue and claws, a golden ball in his fore claws.
Supporters: On the dexter a crowned lion Or langued and clawed Gules. On the sinister a dragon Or
The achievement stands on a hill Vert rising from the waves Argent and Azure inscribed with the text HONG KONG in letters Gules on a ribbon Or.
On the red and blue ensign the achievement on a white disk, replaced the former badge since July 1959.
Achievement of Hong Kong, Granted 21.01.1959 
The arms had been in use in colonial Hong Kong since it was granted on 21 January, 1959 and later adopted on the colonial flag in July that year. The use of the arms ended in 1997 where it was replaced by the regional emblem. The coat of arms features a shield bearing two traditional Chinese junks facing each other. Inside the chief (red portion) is a naval crown in gold. The 'embattled' (castle-like) design separates the chief from the rest of the shield. The crest features a lion holding a pearl. The shield is supported by a lion and a dragon standing on a heraldric island bearing a banner written with "HONG KONG".
The two junks symbolise the importance of trade and the raison d'ętre of the colony. The naval crown symolises Hong Kong's link with the Navy and Merchant Navy, and the battelments commemorate the defence of Hong Kong during World War II. The pearl held by the royal lion wearing the imperial crown in the crest personifies the familiar romanticised phrase "Pearl of the Orient" referring to Hong Kong. The lion and dragon supporters show the British and Chinese (local) aspects of Hong Kong. The island symbolises the beginning of the colony as an island and represents the maritime and hilly geography of Hong Kong. Some nationalists consider the design as an insult somehow: the pearl (Hong Kong) originally in the left forelimb of the dragon (China) is now given to the lion (Britain).
The crest alone had been featured on the reverse of Hong Kong coinage before the introduction of the Bauhinia design in preparation of the 1997 Handover.
Photo C. Morris, Blackstar 1997
Achievement of Hong Kong as used in the last years of British Rule.
Governor’s flag until 1959
Governor’s flag 1959-1997
In the transfer of sovereignty on 30 June / 1 July 1997 a new flag was hoisted next to the flag of China. It is a red cloth with a white five-leaf flower, a bauhinia. This flower is also on the seal of Hong Kong.
Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Bill
Provide for the use and protection of the regional flag and regional emblem and for incidental matters.
Enacted by the Provisional Legislative Council.
Short title and commencement
(1) This Ordinance may be cited as the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance.
(2) This Ordinance comes into operation on 1 July 1997.
(1) In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires –
"regional emblem" means the regional emblem of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region endorsed at the Fourth Plenum of the Preparatory Committee of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on 10 August 1996;
"regional flag" means the regional flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region endorsed at the Fourth Plenum of the Preparatory Committee of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on 10 August 1996;
"specifications" means the relevant specifications for the regional flag or the regional emblem set out in Schedules 1 and 2.
(2) The specifications for the regional flag are set out in Schedule 1.
(3) The specifications for the regional emblem are set out in Schedule 2.
3 Use of regional flag and regional emblem
(1)The Chief Executive may stipulate the organizations which must display or use the regional flag and the regional emblem, and the places at which, the occasions on which, the manner in which and the conditions under which, the regional flag and the regional emblem must be displayed or used. The Chief Executive may also authorize, restrict or prohibit the display or use of the regional flag, the regional emblem or their designs in the stipulation.
(2) The arrangements for the display and use of the regional flag and regional emblem are set out in Schedule
(3) Schedule 4 specifies the conditions under which the regional flag is flown at half staff.
4. Damaged regional flag and regional emblem not to be used
A regional flag or regional emblem which is damaged, defiled, faded or substandard must not be displayed or used.
5. Manufacture of regional flag and regional emblem regulated
(1) The regional flag must be manufactured in accordance with the specifications set out in Schedule 1.
(2) The regional emblem must be manufactured in accordance with the specifications set out in Schedule 2.
(3) If a person manufactures a regional flag or regional emblem other than in accordance with this section, the Secretary of Justice may apply to the District Court –
(a) for an injunction to prevent further unauthorized manufacture; and
(b) for an order of forfeiture of the flag, emblem and other materials used in the manufacture of the flag or emblem.
(4) If the District Court is satisfied that the application is well founded, it may grant the injunction and order that the flag, emblem and other materials used in the manufacture of the flag or emblem be forfeited to the Government.
6 Prohibition on certain uses of the regional flag and regional emblem
(1) The regional flag, the regional emblem or their designs must not be displayed or used in –
a)trademarks or advertisements; or
other occasions on which or places at which the display or use of the regional flag or regional emblem or their designs is restricted or prohibited under a stipulation made by the Chief Executive.
(2) A person who without lawful authority or reasonable excuse displays or uses the regional flag, regional emblem or the design of the regional flag or regional emblem contrary to subsections (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction –
(a) for an offence against subsection (1)(a), to a fine at level 5; and
(b) for an offence against subsection (1)(b),to a fine at level 2.
7. Protection of the regional flag and regional emblem
A person who desecrates the regional flag or regional emblem by publicly and wilfully burning, mutilating, scrawling on, defiling or trampling on it commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine at level 5 and to imprisonment for 3 years.
8.Copy of the regional flag or the regional emblem
A copy of the regional flag or regional emblem that is not an exact copy but that so closely resembles the regional flag or regional emblem as to lead to the belief that the copy in question is the regional flag or regional emblem is taken to be the regional flag or regional emblem for the purposes of this Ordinance.
9 Stipulations not subsidiary legislation
A stipulation made by the Chief Executive under this Ordinance is not subsidiary legislation. The stipulation must be published in the Gazette as soon as is reasonably practicable after it is made.
SCHEDULE 1 Ss.2, 4 & 5]
Specifications for the regional flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
The shape and colour on both sides of the regional flag are identical. The bauhinia design on both sides are identical. For the sake of convenience, only the specifications for the regional flag with the pole standing on its left are listed below. As regards the side of the regional flag with the pole standing on its right, it must be correspondingly produced.
The regional flag is in red, the chrominance value of which is identical with that of the national flag of the People's Republic of China . The regional flag is rectangular in shape with its length / height ratio being 3 to 2. At the centre of the regional flag is a white 5-petal bauhinia in swaying motion. The diameter of its outer circle is 3/5 of the regional flag's height. The petals are evenly arranged round the central point of the regional flag in a clockwise direction. Each petal bears a red 5-pointed star and a red style. The centre of the bauhinia lies on the central point of the regional flag . The case of the pole is in white. The design of the regional flag is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 Design of the Regional Flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
II. There are eight different standard sizes of the regional flag. Their measurements are as follows:
If regional flags of non standard sizes are required to meet special needs, they shall be of a scaled-up or a scaled-down size
III. Format of the bauhunia design:
Figure 2 ormat of the Bauhinia Design
IV. Format of the bauhinia design for plate making
Figure 3 Format of the Bauhinia Design for Plate Making
SCHEDULE 2 [Ss.2, 4 & 5] Specifications for the regional emblem of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
I. The regional emblem is round in shape. It
bears a red circular edge, an outer ring marked with scripts, a red inner
ring with a design of a swaying bauhinia with 5 star-shaped stamens.
II. The swaying bauhinia design at the centre of the inner ring of the regional emblem is white in colour. It is formed by 5 petals, each with a red 5-pointed star and a red style. The petals are evenly arranged around the central point of the regional emblem in a clockwise direction. The centre of the bauhinia lies on the central point of the regional emblem.
III.The outer ring marked with scripts lies between the red circular edge and the red inner ring. The words and characters, on a white background, are red in colour. Evenly arranged in the upper part of the outer ring are the Chinese characters 中華人民共和國香港特別行政區 in complex form and in the standard format for the regional emblem. The bottom of each character points towards the centre of the regional emblem. The English words "HONG KONG" in the standard format for the regional emblem are evenly arranged further down the outer ring. The top of each alphabet points towards the centre of the regional emblem. In between the Chinese characters and the English words is a 5-pointed red star on two sides. One point of both stars points towards the centre of the regional emblem. The Chinese characters, the English words and the 5-pointed stars are symmetrically arranged with reference to the centrelines of the regional emblem. The design of the regional emblem is shown in Figure 1
Figure 1 The Design of the Regional Emblem of the Hong Kong SpecialAdministrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
IV The chrominance value of the red colour of the regional emblem shall be identical with that of the national emblem of the People's Republic of China..
V. There are three standard sizes of the regional emblem. Their measurements are as follows:
Size 1 100 cm in diameter
Size 2 80 cm in diameter
Size 3 60 cm in diameter
If regional emblems of non standard sizes are required to meet special needs, they shall be of a scaled-up or a scaled-down size
VI. Format of the Regional Emblem
Figure 2 Format of the Regional Emblem
1.The width of the circular edge must be 1/100th of the diameter of the regional emblem.
2.The width of the outer ring marked with scripts must be 1/10th of the diameter of the regional emblem.
3. The supplementary circle surrounding the bauhinia must be 6/10ths of the diameter of the regional emblem.
4 The angle of the Chinese character region is 220 degrees. The height of the Chinese characters must be 7/10ths of the width of the outer ring marked with scripts.
5. The angle of the English word region is 80 degrees. The height of the English words must be 6/10ths of the width of the outer ring marked with scripts.
6. The angle of the 5-pointed star region is 30 degrees respectively. The diameter of the outer circle of the star shall be the same as that of the 5-pointed star of the bauhinia.
VII. Standard Format of the Chinese characters and the English words of the Regional Emblem
Figure 3 Standard Format of the Chinese characters and the English words of the Regional Emblem
The Sectional Drawing of the Regional Emblem
Figure 4 Sectional Drawing of the Regional Emblem.
IX. Format of the Regional Emblem for Plate Making
Figure 5 Format of the Regional Emblem for Plate Making
SCHEDULE 3 [s.3]
Arrangements on the display and
use of the regional flag and regional emblem
To safeguard the dignity of the regional flag and the regional emblem of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and to ensure the correct use of the regional flag and the regional emblem, the following are the arrangements on the use of the regional flag and regional emblem.
I. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's regional flag and regional emblem are the symbol and ensign of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Each and every Hong Kong resident and organization should respect and cherish the regional flag and the regional emblem.
II. II In the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, whenever the national flag is flown together with the regional flag, or the national emblem is displayed together with the regional emblem, the national flag or the national emblem is to occupy a more prominent position.
When both the national flag and the regional flag are raised in
procession, the national flag is to precede the regional flag. When the national
flag is flown alongside the regional flag, the national flag is to be on the
right and the regional flag on the left.
IV. For the display of the national flag and regional flag outside a building, "left" and "right" sides of the building are ascertained by reference to a person standing in front of the building and looking towards the front entrance of the building.
SCHEDULE 4 [s.3]
Conditions for flying the regional flag at half staff
(Members of the public are welcome to express their views on the Bills, by writing to the Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat at 3/F, Huaxia Art Centre, No. 1 Guangqiao Street, Overseas Chinese Town, Shenzhen)
Flying regional flag at half staff
(a) President of the People's Republic of China, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Premier of the State Council and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.
(b)Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
(c) Persons who have made outstanding contributions to the People's Republic of China as the Central People's Government advises the Chief Executive.
(d) Persons who have made outstanding contributions to world peace or the cause of human progress as the Central People's Government advises the Chief Executive.
(e) Persons whom the Chief
Executive considers have made outstanding contributions to the Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region or for whom he considers it appropriate to do
3.The regional flag may be flown at half staff as a token of mourning if the Chief Executive considers it is appropriate when unfortunate events causing especially serious casualties occur or serious natural calamities have caused heavy casualties.
This Bill gives legal protection to the
regional flag and regional emblem. The specifications for the regional flag
and regional emblem are set out in Schedules 1 and 2.
© Hubert de Vries
 References ↑ Cap 1 s 3 Interpretation of words and expressions (INTERPRETATION AND GENERAL CLAUSES ORDINANCE) ↑ 2.0 2.1 Public Seal of Hong Kong Retrieved from "http://mediawikifr.dp.teoma.com/wiki/Public_Seal_of_Hong_Kong" (obsolete)
 Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Coat_of_Arms
 Achievement of Hong Kong, adopted 21st of january 1959 (From: Flags of all Nations. Admiralty, 1955. 3/61 (19) N.C.B.R. 20 / Vol I Amendment n° 5