Hong Kong is a southern metropolitan city of China. In the eyes of foreigners, people form Hong Kong are considered as Chinese, rarely Japanese or Korean. Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China indeed and thus people form Hong Kong are Chinese undoubtedly. Still, people from Hong Kong prefer to call themselves Hongkonger since there are plentiful differences between Hong Kong and China in terms of politics, culture, and economy. As a result, Hong Kong people have a distinct ethnic identity in compare of Chinese.
First and foremost, Hong Kong and China have entirely opposite political system. In mainland China, there is a one-party dictatorship, the powers of executive, legislative, judicial and the fourth estate are all under control of the Communist Party. Although political decisions have to be voted in the Standing Committee, all representatives are nothing but voting machines.
Everything is under the control of the president of the party, there are not genuine vote and election. In Hong Kong, people value democracy, rule of law and the separation of powers. Every require of funding and legislation must seek agreement from the legislative council so as to limit the power of the government.As such, there have been many pro-democracy protests recently in Hong Kong.
When it comes to the culture, Hong Kong inherits Chinese culture and is influenced by western culture deeply as Hong Kong was a colony of Britain till 1997. Even though Hong Kong was returned to China, Hong Kong is still being an international city. Hong Kong embraces all kind of cultures. For example, Hongkongers watch a vast number of American, Japanese, Korean and Chinese movies. Also, as a gourmet paradise, you can find food form different parts of the world in Hong Kong. Compared to Hong Kong, China is more xenophobic. They perceive America and Japan are evil empires. For instance, there was an enormous anti-Japan campaign in China, people ruined every Japanese product they can find.
Speaking of the economy. Hong Kong worships capitalism while China believes communism. Hong Kong has the freest economy system among the world but China has a strictly planed and regulated economy system. There is such a big comparison in the light of “one country, two systems” so Hong Kong is independent in terms of economy and politics. Additionally, Hong Kong has its own currency peg to the US dollar instead of using RMB. This is part of why Hong Kong is a large trading center, comparable to Wall Street—its service economy can serve large parts of the world remotely.
The two regions have distinct history, culture, and economies. Though both city and country have an important connection, the term “Chinese” cannot show all the features of Hong Kong. Hence, people in Hong Kong find themselves Hongkongers instead of Chinese.