Sustainable Tourism Law

Law on tourism in China – Mainland China and Hong Kong Tasman Tam 1 When one speaks of travelling in China (the People’s Republic of China, “PRC”), some may be oblivious to the fact that it contains, broadly speaking, 4 separate geographical zones: mainland China (consisting of 4 municipalities formed by 22 provinces, and 5 provincial-level autonomous regions 2 ), Taiwan 3 , Hong Kong 4 and Macao 5 (both as special administrative regions, under the principle of “One Country Two Systems”). Colloquially, the 4 zones are sometimes collectively referred to as Greater China . Others may have the misconception that they are actually travelling through 4 different countries. This is an understandable mistake; each of the zones issue their own currencies and passports and have independent border controls. Legally, without touching on their political and diplomatic history (which is a sensitive subject), each of these zones is a distinct legal jurisdiction, with the most iconic, Hong Kong, having (and managing to preserve) a common law system, whilst the other regions have developed their own respective forms of civil law systems. The legislations of each zone are generally not applicable to the other zones (save for a limited number of mainland China state laws which are applied to Hong Kong and Macao through promulgation or legislation by local governments). In a similar way to the United States’ system of federal laws and state/territorial laws, within mainland China, each municipal and its downstream provincial governments 6 have varying degrees of legislative powers to make subordinate laws, regulations and directives, to put into effect the state laws, tailoring them specifically to the culture, environment and economy of each province, city or even district. 1 I am grateful to Lauren J. Howells for her assistance in the preparation of this chapter; all errors and omissions that remain are entirely my own 2 Guangxi Zhuang, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia Hui, Tibet and Xinjiang Uygur. 3 Historically known as the Republic of China, now the 23 rd province of China. 4 Former British colony until 1 July 1997. 5 Macau (Portuguese). Former Portuguese colony until 20 December 1999. 6 Local People’s Congress, in contrast with the state-level National People’s Congress and State Council.