My dad is Cantonese and born in Hong Kong (grandparents are both Cantonese), while my mother is European. We live together in Belgium, Europe ever since my birth, which was also in Belgium. Since I was young, I'd travel to Hong Kong every 2-3 years to maintain a Chinese identity. I am actually recognized as a Hong Kong citizen until I miss my 3 year mark at some point in my life, after which I will lose my Chinese identity forever, or so my dad has told me. He additionally mentioned that only Hong Kong citizens (which includes me, even if I live in Europe) have the right to both own ground in Hong Kong and build a house on it. If a non-Chinese person were to want a house in Hong Kong, they would have to buy the right to the ground from me for example. I would also have to raise a house on it before selling the land because the buyer would not have the rights to raise a house on it.

Basically, the law looks something like this: Only men have the right to own property of land and only one at that. If I sell my right to own land, I will not be able to own land anymore unless I buy the right from someone else. As a recognized Hong Kong citizen, I can raise a house while non-Hong Kong citizens cannot. I actually don't know if this is a law limited to people from Hong Kong or if this includes Mainland China citizens.

I tried to look up more information about this on the wikipedia pages, but have difficulty finding anything relevant. Also, the laws are worded a bit complicated to a casual like me.


  • Is there anyone who can confirm that such laws are actually in place?
  • If so, are these laws limited to Hong Kong citizens are do they include Mainland China citizens?
  • Why is such a law in place? Why can't women or non-Hong Kong citizens own land unless they buy the rights to it?

1 Answer 1


In Hong Kong, due to the Sino-Britain Joint Declaration in effect for 50 years, the land ownership is owned by the China since 1997, and China is "leasing" the land to the government of HKSAR. Within the 50-year period, the HK gov is actually allowed to found a new law, ruling the renewal on the land leasing problem.

However to address your issue, we must clarify one important identity of yourselves:
Are you belongs to a HK Aboriginal tribes?
You may find out more on Wikipedia or ask your parents, to the explaining that the aboriginal tribes and their male descendants is allowed to own a piece of land, for a small house.(Yea you can't build a tall flat on that)

A definition, quote from the policies and law would be:

  • An 18 years old (or above) male indigenous villager, and
  • His father is a qualified indigenous inhabitants among the recognized villages, and
  • The applicant has never been received a any small house grant

So to your questions:

  1. According to the Basic Law Article 40, if one male person is a fully qualified indigenous inhabitants, he can enjoys the lawful traditional rights and interests. Hereby including obtaining a land.
  2. The Article 40 only protects for the rights and interests of qualified indigenous inhabitants, it is however, another policy namely "Small House Policy (SHP)" to rule the use of land regarding with the limitation quoted above. And yes, it is only a male whose father is a qualified indigenous inhabitants, for him to obtain a land ownership.
  3. IANAL, but honestly you cannot buy a "land" in Hong Kong. The land ownership is already complex, and is exists for least from the government of HKSAR. (Unless under SHP) Furthermore, it is a traditional cultural that the male discriminates women. NOT ALL OF THEM do, but from the Chinese history, women are less valuable in the weight of power.
  4. It is not the matter of qualified HK citizens or not, even somebody from Belgium or Netherland can flew here and buy a flat/house. The Basic Law protects the society, and preserves a bigger scale of traditional cultural at the same time. (It's actually really big that can affect a Chief Executive election :p but that's another problem tho)
  • 1
    Thanks for your reply! I do indeed fill these criteria, so I guess I possess the right. The Small House Policy term allowed me to search more accurately about my questions. It would appear that people did indeed sell the grant for a sum of money (people even earn up to half a million of dollars!). My dad neglected to tell me that the transaction is very illegal and that people can go to prison if they get found out. hongkongfp.com/2015/12/09/…
    – Babyburger
    Jun 16, 2017 at 15:25

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