New Territories

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New Territories

Hong Kong New Territories.svg
Location within
Flag of Hong Kong.svg Hong Kong (in green)
Coordinates: 22°24′25″N114°07′19″E / 22.407°N 114.122°E / 22.407; 114.122 Coordinates: 22°24′25″N114°07′19″E / 22.407°N 114.122°E / 22.407; 114.122
  Total952 km2 (368 sq mi)
  Density3,801/km2 (9,845/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+8 (Hong Kong Time)
New Territories
Chinese 新界
Jyutping San1gaai3
Literal meaningNew Frontier

The New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong, alongside Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. It makes up 86.2% of Hong Kong's territory, and contains around half of the population of Hong Kong. Historically, it is the region described in the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory. According to that treaty, the territories comprise the mainland area north of Boundary Street on the Kowloon Peninsula and south of the Sham Chun River (which is the border between Hong Kong and Mainland China), as well as over 200 outlying islands, including Lantau Island, Lamma Island, Cheung Chau, and Peng Chau in the territory of HK.


Butterfly Bay in New Territories Butterfly Bay, Tuen Mun, NT, Hong Kong in 2017.jpg
Butterfly Bay in New Territories
Flag of the New Territories Regional Council which was disbanded on the last day of 1999 HKRegionalCouncilFlag.svg
Flag of the New Territories Regional Council which was disbanded on the last day of 1999

Later, after New Kowloon was defined from the area between the Boundary Street and the Kowloon Ranges spanned from Lai Chi Kok to Lei Yue Mun, and the extension of the urban areas of Kowloon, New Kowloon was gradually urbanised and absorbed into Kowloon.

The New Territories now comprises only the mainland north of the Kowloon Ranges and south of the Sham Chun River, as well as the Outlying Islands. It comprises an area of 952 km2 (368 sq mi). [1] Nevertheless, New Kowloon has remained statutorily part of the New Territories instead of Kowloon.

The New Territories were leased from Qing China by the United Kingdom in 1898 for 99 years in the Second Convention of Peking (The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory). Upon the expiry of the lease, sovereignty was transferred to the People's Republic of China in 1997, together with the Qing-ceded territories of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula.

In 2011, the population of the New Territories was recorded at 3,691,093. [2] with a population density of 3,801 per square kilometer (9,845 per square mile). [3]


Lease of New Territories

A map of the leased New Territories and New Kowloon during the 1898 Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory Map of The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory in 1898 - 1.jpg
A map of the leased New Territories and New Kowloon during the 1898 Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory

Hong Kong Island was ceded to Britain in 1842 and Kowloon south of Boundary Street and Stonecutters Island in 1860. The colony of Hong Kong attracted a large number of Chinese and Westerners to seek their fortune in the city. Its population increased rapidly and the city became overcrowded. The outbreak of bubonic plague in 1894 became a concern to the Hong Kong Government. There was a need to expand the colony to accommodate its growing population. The Qing Dynasty's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War had shown that it was incapable of defending itself. Victoria City and Victoria Harbour were vulnerable to any hostile forces launching attacks from the hills of Kowloon.

Alarmed by the encroachment of other European powers in China, Britain also feared for the security of Hong Kong. Using the most favoured nation clause that it had negotiated with Peking, the United Kingdom demanded the extension of Kowloon to counter the influence of France in southern China in June 1898. In July, it secured Weihaiwei in Shandong in the north as a base for operations against the Germans in Qingdao (Tsingtao) and the Russians in Port Arthur. Chinese officials stayed in the walled cities of Kowloon City and Weihaiwei.

The extension of Kowloon was called the New Territories. The additional land was estimated to be 365 square miles (945 km2) or 12 times the size of the existing Colonial Hong Kong at the time. [4]

British assumption of sovereignty

The British ceremony in Tai Po, 1899, assuming control of the New Territories British take over the New Territories.jpg
The British ceremony in Tai Po, 1899, assuming control of the New Territories

Although the Convention was signed on the 9 June 1898 and became effective on 1 July, the British did not take over the New Territories immediately. During this period, there was no Hong Kong Governor and Wilsone Black acted as administrator. James Stewart Lockhart, the Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong, was sent back from England to make a survey of New Territories before formal transfer. The survey found that the new frontier at Sham Chun River (Shenzhen river) suggested by Wilsone Black was far from ideal. It excluded the town of Shenzhen (Sham Chun), and the boundary would divide the town. There was no mountain range as a natural border. Lockhart suggested moving the frontier to the line of hills north of Shenzhen. This suggestion was not received favourably and the Chinese official suggested the frontier be moved to the hill much further south of the Sham Chun River. It was settled in March 1899 that the boundary remain at the Sham Chun River.

The new Hong Kong Governor Henry Blake arrived in November 1898. The date for the takeover of the New Territories was fixed as 17 April 1899 and Tai Po was chosen as the administrative centre. However the transfer was not smooth and peaceful. Before the handover in early April, Captain Superintendent of Police, Francis Henry May and some policemen erected a flagstaff and temporary headquarters at Tai Po and posted the Governor's proclamation of the takeover date. Fearing for their traditional land rights, in the Six-Day War of 1899, a number of clans attempted to resist the British, mobilising clan militias [5] that had been organised and armed to protect against longshore raids by pirates. The militia men attempted a frontal attack against the temporary police station in Tai Po that was the main British base but were beaten back by superior force of arms. An attempt by the clansmen at guerilla warfare was put down by the British near Lam Tsuen with over 500 Chinese men killed, and collapsed when British artillery was brought to bear on the walled villages of the clansmen. Most prominent of the villages in the resistance Kat Hing Wai, of the Tang clan, was symbolically disarmed, by having its main gates dismounted and removed. However, in order to prevent future resistance the British made concessions to the indigenous inhabitants with regards to land use, land inheritance and marriage laws; the majority of which remained in place into the 1960s when polygamy was outlawed. Some of the concessions with regard to land use and inheritance remain in place in Hong Kong to this day and is a source of friction between indigenous inhabitants and other Hong Kong residents.

Lord Lugard was Governor from 1907 to 1912, and he proposed the return of Weihaiwei to the Chinese government, in return for the ceding of the leased New Territories in perpetuity. The proposal was not received favourably, although if it had been acted on, Hong Kong might have remained forever in British hands.

New town development

Much of the New Territories were, and to a limited extent still are, rural areas. Attempts at modernising the area did not become fully committed until the late 1970s, when many new towns were built to accommodate the population growth from urbanised areas of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Despite rapid development of the new towns, which now accommodate a population of over 3 million, the Hong Kong Government confines built-up areas to a few areas and reserves large parts of the region as parkland.

Sovereignty transfer to the PRC

As the expiry date of the lease neared in the 1980s, talks between the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China led to the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration (1984), in which the whole of Hong Kong would be returned, instead of only the New Territories.


The New Territories comprises two geographical constituencies in the Legislative Council, with nine districts each with their own District Council:


According to the 2011 census, the population of the New Territories was 3,691,093, representing 52.2% of Hong Kong's total population. [2] 88.4% of the residents of New Territories use Cantonese as their main language. 4.3% of its residents use English, [6] 1.2% use Mandarin Chinese, and 3.3% of New Territories' residents use other Chinese dialects. 95.1% of the district's population is of Chinese descent. The largest ethnic minority groups are Filipinos (31.5%), Indonesians (26.2%), South Asians (14.5%), Mixed (11.2%) and Whites (10.0%). [7]

New Kowloon

New Kowloon covers the entirety of the Wong Tai Sin and Kwun Tong districts, as well as the mainland portion of the Sham Shui Po District (i.e. excluding the Stonecutters Island) and the northern portion of the Kowloon City District (portion to the north of Boundary Street/Prince Edward Road West[ citation needed ], as well as reclaimed land including the Kai Tak Airport).

See also

Related Research Articles

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Kowloon Area of Hong Kong

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Kowloon–Canton Railway railway network in Hong Kong

The Kowloon–Canton Railway is a railway network in Hong Kong. It is owned, and was operated by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) until 2007. Rapid transit services, a light rail system and feeder bus routes within Hong Kong, and intercity passenger and freight train services to Mainland China on this network have since 2007 been operated by the MTR Corporation.

Sham Shui Po Area of Kowloon, Hong Kong

Sham Shui Po is an area of Kowloon, Hong Kong, situated in the northwestern part of the Kowloon Peninsula, north of Tai Kok Tsui, east of Cheung Sha Wan and south of Shek Kip Mei (石硤尾). It is located in and is the namesake of the Sham Shui Po District.

Tai Po District District in Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Tai Po District is one of the 18 districts of Hong Kong. The suburban district covers the areas of Tai Po New Town, Lam Tsuen Valley and other surrounding area, and its exclave in the northern part of the Sai Kung Peninsula. The Tai Po proper and North Sai Kung, was divided by the Tolo Channel and Tolo Harbour. The District is located in the Eastern New Territories. The de facto administrative centre of the district is Tai Po New Town.

Sai Kung District District in Hong Kong, Peoples Republic of China

The Sai Kung District is one of the 18 districts of Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China. The district comprises the southern half of Sai Kung Peninsula, Clear Water Bay Peninsula in the New Territories and a strip of land to the east of Kowloon. Areas in the district include Sai Kung Town, Hong Kong Global Geopark, Tseung Kwan O and over 70 islands of different sizes. The administrative centre had been located in Sai Kung Town until the Sai Kung District Office was relocated to Tseung Kwan O recently. The district's population is concentrated in Tseung Kwan O, as of 2011. In 2011, the district was the third youngest district, with a median age of 39.3. Known as the "back garden of Hong Kong", Sai Kung has been able to retain its natural scenery. Many traditional customs and cultures are still retained in the rural villages.

Lo Wu

Lo Wu or Lowu is an area in North District, New Territories, Hong Kong. It lies on the border between Hong Kong and mainland China, specifically the Luohu District of Shenzhen in mainland China. The area is most notable as the location of the most heavily used immigration control point for passengers travelling to and from mainland China. It is where the Lo Wu station is located.

Boundary Street Street in Kowloon, Hong Kong

Boundary Street is a three-lane one-way street in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It runs in an easterly direction from its start at the intersection with Tung Chau Street in the west, and ends at its intersection with Prince Edward Road West in the east, near the former Kai Tak Airport.

New Kowloon area in Hong Kong, China

New Kowloon is an area in Kowloon, Hong Kong, bounded in the south by Boundary Street, and in the north by the ranges of the Lion Rock, Beacon Hill, Tate's Cairn and Kowloon Peak. It covers the present-day Kwun Tong District and Wong Tai Sin District, and part of the Sham Shui Po District and Kowloon City District.

Sham Chun River

The Sham Chun, Shum Chum River, or Shenzhen River serves as the natural border between Hong Kong and Mainland China, together with the Sha Tau Kok River and Deep Bay.

Sham Shui Po District District in Kowloon, Hong Kong

Sham Shui Po District is one of 18 districts of Hong Kong. It is the poorest district in Hong Kong, with a predominantly working-class population of 405,869 in 2016 and the lowest median household income of all districts. Sham Shui Po has long been home to poorer new immigrants from mainland China. It also saw the birth of public housing in Hong Kong, as the government sought to resettle those displaced by a devastating fire in its slums. Sham Shui Po also hosted a Vietnamese refugee camp during the influx of migration in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

Tai Po

Tai Po is an area in the New Territories of Hong Kong. It refers to the vicinity of the traditional market towns in the area presently known as Tai Po Old Market or Tai Po Kau Hui (大埔舊墟) on the north of Lam Tsuen River and the Tai Po Hui on Fu Shin Street on the south of the Lam Tsuen River, near the old Tai Po Market railway station of the Kowloon-Canton Railway. Both market towns became part of the Tai Po New Town in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In present-day usage, "Tai Po" may refer to the area around the original market towns, the Tai Po New Town, or the entire Tai Po District.

Lai Chi Kok Road Road in Kowloon, Hong Kong

Lai Chi Kok Road is a road in western Kowloon, Hong Kong. It links Lai Chi Kok to Mong Kok, via Tai Kok Tsui, Sham Shui Po and Cheung Sha Wan. It starts from a junction with Nathan Road near Pioneer Centre in the south and ends near Mei Foo Sun Chuen. The road is bidirectional except the section at Lai Chi Kok, between the junction with Butterfly Valley Road and Mei Foo Sun Chuen, where it serves New Territories-bound traffic only. The Kowloon-bound traffic uses Cheung Sha Wan Road, separated by the flyover of Kwai Chung Road.

Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory

The Convention between the United Kingdom and China, Respecting an Extension of Hong Kong Territory, commonly known as the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory or the Second Convention of Peking, was a lease signed between Qing China and the United Kingdom on 9 June 1898. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China now keeps the original copy of the Convention in the National Palace Museum in Taiwan.

San Tin Place in the New Territories of Hong Kong

San Tin is a loosely defined area in Yuen Long District in New Territories, Hong Kong that is part of the San Tin constituency. Unlike Hong Kong's highly urbanised areas, San Tin is sparsely populated due to its marshlands.

Tai Po Market or Tai Po Hui is the name of the non-administrative area within the modern day Tai Po New Town in the Tai Po District, in the New Territories, Hong Kong. However, its exact location changed from time to time. It is considered as the town centre of the non-administrative area known as just Tai Po. The area was established as a market town, which closely related to the modern day residential and commercial area Tai Po Old Market and had some relation with the present-day area Tai Wo. However, all three area are not overlap, and divided by Lam Tsuen River or Tai Po Tai Wo Road. Tai Po Market, Tai Po Old Market and Tai Wo Estate are all within modern day Tai Po New Town.

Boundaries of Hong Kong

The Boundaries of Hong Kong, officially the Boundary of the Administrative Division of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is a regulated administrative border with border control in force under the One country, two systems constitutional principle, which separates the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from mainland China, by land border fence of 30 kilometers and maritime boundary of 733 kilometers, enforcing a separate immigration and customs-controlled jurisdiction from mainland China.


  1. "New Territories (region, Hong Kong, China)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  2. 1 2 "2011 Population Census Fact Sheet Hong Kong". Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  3. Cox, Wendell. "The Evolving Human Form: Hong Kong". Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  4. Wiltshire, Trea. [First published 1987] (republished & reduced2003). Old Hong Kong - Volume One. Central, Hong Kong: Text Form Asia books Ltd. Page 75. ISBN Volume One 962-7283-59-2
  5. "The reason behind the resistance by the New Territories inhabitants against British takeover in 1899". Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  6. "Hong Kong: population breakdown by language 2018". Statista. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  7. "Snapshot of Hong Kong Population | 2016 Population By-census". Retrieved 24 November 2020.

Further reading