A Special Administrative Region (SAR) was established in China via Article 31 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China in 1982. Hong Kong and Macau are currently the only two SARs. Article 31 allows “the state” being China, to establish special administrative regions when necessary. SARs are their own administrative regions and have their own chief executive. They also have their own basic law, which state they are local administrations of the People’s Republic of China. SARs have separate political systems from that of the PRC and operate under a capitalist economy. Each SAR has high amounts of autonomy and the region comes directly under the Central People’s Government.
SARs should not be confused with Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Click here for a description of Special Economic Zones.