colour models

Flag of Hong Kong

Flag ratio: 2:3]] The Regional Flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China features a stylised, white, five-petal Bauhinia blakeana flower in the centre of a red field.

The flag of Hong Kong was adopted on 16 February 1990. On 10 August 1996, it received formal approval from the Preparatory Committee, a group which advised the People's Republic of China (PRC) on Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to the PRC in 1997. The flag was first officially hoisted on 1 July 1997, in the handover ceremony marking the transfer of sovereignty. The precise use of the flag is regulated by laws passed by the 58th executive meeting of the State Council held in Beijing. The design of the flag is enshrined in Hong Kong's Basic Law, the city's constitutional document, and regulations regarding the use, prohibition of use, desecration, and manufacture of the flag are stated in the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance.



The design of the flag carries cultural, political and regional meanings. The colour itself is significant; red is a festive colour for the Chinese people, used to convey a sense of celebration and nationalism. Moreover, the red colour is identical to that used in the national PRC flag, chosen to signify the link re-established between post-colonial Hong Kong and China. The juxtaposition of red and white on the flag symbolises the one country two systems political principle applied to the region. The stylised rendering of the Bauhinia blakeana flower, a flower discovered in Hong Kong, is meant to serve as a harmonising symbol for this dichotomy.


The front and the back of the Hong Kong flag look identical to each other, creating a mirror image effect. The Hong Kong government has specified sizes, colours, and manufacturing parameters in which the flag is to be made. The background of the rectangular flag is red, the same shade of red as that used for the national PRC flag. The ratio of its length to breadth is 1.5. In its centre is a five-petal stylised rendering of a white Bauhinia blakeana flower. If a circle circumscribes the flower, it should have a diameter 0.6 times the entire height of the flag. The petals are uniformly spread around the centre point of the flag, radiating outward and pointing in a clockwise direction. Each of the flower's petals bears a five-pointed red star, a communist and socialist symbolism, with a red trace, suggestive of a flower stamen. The red trace makes each petal look as if it is being divided in half. The heading that is used to allow a flag to be slid or raised onto a pole is white.

Size specifications

This table lists all the official sizes for the flag. Sizes deviating from this list are considered non-standard. If a flag is not of official size, it must be a scaled down or scaled up version of one of the official sizes.

Size Length and width in centimetres
1 288 × 192
2 240 × 160
3 192 × 128
4 144 × 96
5 96 × 64
Car flag 30 × 20
Flag for signing ceremonies 21 × 14
Desktop flag 15 × 10

Colour specifications

The following are the approximate colours of the Hong Kong flag in different colour models. It is listed by web colours in hexadecimal notation, CMYK equivalents*, dye colours, HSL equivalents, and Pantone equivalents.

Colour HTML CMYK Textile colour HSL Pantone
Red #FF0000 0-100-90-0 Chinese red 0°,100%,50% 186
White #FFFFFF 0-0-0-0 White 0°,100%,100%

  • CMYK equivalents based on official downloadable files from Hong Kong's Protocol website (See 2nd external link).

Manufacture regulated

The Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance stipulates that the Hong Kong flag must be manufactured according to specifications laid out in the ordinance. If flags are not produced in design according to the ordinance, the Secretary for Justice may petition the District Court for an injunction to prohibit the person or company from manufacturing the flags. If the District Court agrees that the flags are not in compliance, it may issue an injunction and order that the flags and the materials that were used to make the flags to be seized by the government.


Historical flags

Prior to Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty, the flag of Hong Kong was a colonial Blue Ensign flag. The flag of colonial Hong Kong underwent several changes in the last one and a half centuries.

In 1843, a seal representing Hong Kong was instituted. The design was based on a local waterfront scene; three local merchants with their commercial goods can be found on the foreground, a square-rigged ship and a junk occupy the middle ground, while the background consists of conical hills and clouds. In 1868, a Hong Kong flag was produced, a Blue Ensign flag with a badge based on this "local scene", but the design was rejected by Hong Kong Governor Richard Graves MacDonnell.

In 1870, a "white crown over HK" badge for the Blue Ensign flag was proposed by the Colonial Secretary. The letters "HK" were omitted and the crown became full-colour three years later. It is unclear exactly what the badge looked like during that period of time, but it was unlikely to be the "local scene". It should have been a crown of some sort, which may, or may not, have had the letters "HK" below it. In 1876, the "local scene" badge was re-adopted to the Blue Ensign flag with the Admiralty's approval.

By 1955, the "local scene" badge in the Blue Ensign flag was revised. The new badge was similar to the 1876 badge, but had a slightly lower eye-line, and a more realistic mountain on the left-hand side. The mountain, the ship, and the junk were made more prominent and embossed.

A coat of arms for Hong Kong was granted on 21 January 1959 by the College of Arms in London. The Hong Kong flag was revised in the same year to feature the coat of arms in the Blue Ensign flag. This design was used from 1959 until Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty in 1997.

Current design

Before Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty, a contest was held amongst Hong Kong residents to help choose a flag for post-colonial Hong Kong. More than 7,000 designs were submitted for the contest and a panel of political figures were chosen as judges for the designs. Architect Tao Ho was chosen as one of the panel judges to pick Hong Kong's new flag. He recalled that some of the designs had been rather funny and with political twists: "One had a hammer and sickle on one side and a dollar sign on the other." Six designs were chosen as finalists by the judges, but were all later rejected by the PRC. Ho and two others were then asked by the PRC to submit new proposals.

Looking for inspiration, Ho wandered into a garden and picked up a Bauhinia blakeana flower. He observed the symmetry of the five petals, and how their winding pattern conveyed to him a dynamic feeling. This led him to incorporated the flower into the flag to represent Hong Kong.

Proper flag protocol

The Hong Kong flag is flown daily from the Chief Executive's official residence, the Government House, the Hong Kong International Airport, and at all border crossings and points of entry into Hong Kong. At major government offices and buildings, such as the Office of the Chief Executive, the Executive Council, the Court of Final Appeal, the High Court, the Legislative Council, and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices overseas, the flag is displayed during days when these offices are working. Other government offices and buildings, such as hospitals, schools, departmental headquarters, sports grounds, and cultural venues should fly the flag on occasions such as the National Day of the PRC (1 October), the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day (1 July), and New Year's Day. The flag should be raised at 8:00 a.m. and lowered at 6:00 p.m. The raising and lowering of the flag should be done slowly; it must reach the peak of the flag staff when it is raised, and it may not touch the ground when it is lowered. The flag may not be raised in severe weather conditions. A Hong Kong flag that is either damaged, defaced, faded or substandard must not be displayed or used.

Displayed together with the national flag

Whenever the national PRC flag is flown together with the regional Hong Kong flag, the national flag must be flown at the centre, above the regional flag, or otherwise in a more prominent position than that of the regional flag. The regional flag must be smaller in size than the national flag, and it must be displayed to the left of the national flag. When the flags are displayed inside a building, the left and right sides of a person looking at the flags, and with his or her back toward the wall, are used as reference points for the left and right sides of a flag. When the flags are displayed outside a building, the left and right sides of a person standing in front of the building and looking towards the front entrance are used as reference points for the left and right sides of a flag. The national flag should be raised before the regional flag is raised, and it should be lowered after the regional flag is lowered.


The Hong Kong flag must be lowered to half-staff as a token of mourning when any of the following people die:

The flag may also be flown at half-staff when the Central People's Government advises the Chief Executive to do so, or when the Chief Executive considers it appropriate to do so, on occurrences of unfortunate events causing especially serious casualties, or when serious natural calamities have caused heavy casualties. When raising a flag to be flown at half-staff, it should be first raised to the peak of the staff and then lowered to a point where the distance between the top of the flag and the peak of the staff is one third of the length of the staff. When lowering the flag from half-staff, it should be first raised to the peak of the staff before it is lowered.

Prohibition of use and desecration

The Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance states what manner of use of the Hong Kong flag is prohibited and that desecration of the flag is prohibited; it also states that it is a punishable offence for a person to use the flag in a prohibited manner or desecrate the flag. According to the ordinance, a flag may not be used in advertisements or trademarks, and that "publicly and wilfully burning, mutilating, scrawling on, defiling or trampling" the flag is considered flag desecration.

The ordinance also allows for the Chief Executive to make stipulations regarding the use of the flag. In stipulations made in 1997, the Chief Executive further specified that the use of the flag in "any trade, calling or profession, or the logo, seal or badge of any non-governmental organisation" is also prohibited unless prior permission was obtained.

Leung Kwok-hung, a member of the Legislative Council (the legislative body of the Hong Kong government) and a prominent political activist in Hong Kong, was penalised for defiling the Hong Kong flag in 2001 (he was not a member of the Legislative Council at the time). He was placed on a good-behaviour bond for 12 months in the sum of HK$3,000 for dotting the flag with black marks while protesting against the handover anniversary and elections to choose the Election Committee, the electoral college which elects the Chief Executive, in Wan Chai, Admiralty and Central on 1 July and 9 July 2000.

Leung's case was the second convicted case of flag desecration in Hong Kong. The first case involved demonstrators Ng Kung Siu and Lee Kin Yun, who were found guilty of desecrating both the Hong Kong flag and the national PRC flag in a demonstration held in January 1998, for writing the word "Shame" on both flags. The case was finally decided in the Court of Final Appeal, the highest appellate court in Hong Kong, after an initial guilty verdict was overturned by the Court of Appeal.

See also


External links

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