The existing Hong Kong honours system was created after transfer of government of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China as a special administrative region in 1998. Before that, Hong Kong was a British dependent territory and followed the British honours system with the Order of the British Empire.
The Grand Bauhinia Medal the highest award under the HKSAR honours and awards system, is to recognise the selected person's life-long and highly significant contribution to the well-being of Hong Kong. The awardee is entitled to the postnominal letters GBM and the style The Honourable. (Bauhinia, Bauhinia blakeana, is the floral emblem of Hong Kong.)
The Order of the Bauhinia Star has three classes (postnominal in parenthesis): the Gold Bauhinia Star (GBS), the Silver Bauhinia Star (SBS), and the Bronze Bauhinia Star (BBS).
The Gold Bauhinia Star (GBS) is awarded to eminent persons who have given very distinguished services to the community or who have rendered public or voluntary services of a very high degree of merit.
The Silver Bauhinia Star (SBS) is awarded to persons who have taken a leading part in public affairs and/or voluntary work over a long period of time.