However, since China flies its flag from within governing bodies and Beijing has appointed the Chief Executive to run the town, it is not entirely autonomous.
Hongkong has never been an autonomous state. Up until 1997 and with the transfer in Hong Kong, Hong Kong was a UK dependency. Following the transfer, the Hong Kong settlement became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and is part of China for formal use. But basically it is permitted to act as an autonomous state.
The following are just a few of Hong Kong's practices as an autonomous state. The Hong Kong Basic Law, as it has been negotiated between China and Britain, means that Hong Kong will maintain its own monetary system (the Hong Kong dollar), judicial system and parliamentarian system for fifty years. Hongkong practises a restricted system of self-government.
The country's parliamentary system is partly electoral, with referendums and partly the Beijing-approved ceaucuses of celebrity candidates from economic and political committees. Beijing will appoint the Chief Executive. In Hong Kong, demonstrations were launched to compel Beijing to grant the town greater electoral democracy. In turn, this distancing has led to tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing.
Similarly, the Hong Kong judicial system is totally different from Beijing. There is no right for the HKSAR to detain persons in Hong Kong. Entry and entry controls are also separated from China. Hong Kong residents, who usually get visa-free entry, must obtain a travel permit to travel to China.
Between Hong Kong and China there is a complete cross-frontier. China citizens also need a permit to travel to Hong Kong. The Hong Kongers have their own HKSAR-Pass. Imports and exports of goods between Hong Kong and China are also limited, although the regulatory framework has been eased.
Hongkong's only legitimate foreign exchange is the domestic Hong Kong Dollars, which are linked to the US Dollars. Yuan is the country's denomination in China. Hong Kong's formal dialects are Mandarin, which means Cantonese and English. As the use of Mandarin grows, Hong Kongers largely does not use it.
Hong Kong is also slightly different from China in terms of culture. Whilst the two have clear interconnectedness of culture, fifty years of continental dominance and UK and international influences in Hong Kong have led to their divergence. Amazingly, Hong Kong is still a stronghold of China's traditions. Flaming festival, buddhistic ceremonies and fighting groups, which have long been forbidden by Mao, prospered in Hong Kong.