This chapter provides a brief historical background and a description of major events in China. It also provides basic political, economic, and social data arranged in the following categories: polity, economy, population, purchasing power parities, life expectancy, ethnic groups, capital, political rights, civil liberties, and status. The chapter discusses the progress and decline of political rights and civil liberties in China. Hong Kong residents enjoy most basic rights, but they cannot change their government through elections. Under the Basic Law, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa was appointed by a 400-member selection committee, itself appointed by Beijing. Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp denounced legislation passed in July that included a clause clarifying that China could sack the territory's chief executive. The Basic Law does not explicitly grant Beijing this power without Hong Kong's courts or Legco beginning the move. China codified particular plans into a post-1997 constitution for Hong Kong called the Basic Law.