In the past I was very fascinated by Hong Kong (and to a lesser extend Macao). In my teenage years I spent many days reading about them, dreaming away, promising myself to go there someday... When the territories were transferred to China again, I sort of lost the temper because I am not very trusting of China (as an anti-death penalty activist, it's one of those places I always get a dodgy feeling about, and the censorships don't help neither to get a good image of China PR).
I was wondering though if the "one country, two systems" policy is working well in practise, as this would of course open the door to a long-term visit to Hong Kong/Macau again. With English as a prominent language of the area, it's probably not that hard to find a job when you're a multilingual speaker. And in theory Hong Kong and Macau keep their 'colonial era' justice system which knows no capital punishment, no limits on freedom of speech, ... But is this system really practised as it was proposed? Or is it still not the safest place to settle temporarily?
I have been to Hong Kong and Macao early this year in april.
Both cities are very safe place to live in. The police has good control of almost everything there.
I am not sure about the legal policies there about censorship and freedom of speech.
However, throughout my 1 week stay in HK, i can say that the level of freedom (of speech) is very good over there, comparing to many other asian countries. Adult magazines, protests (by some FU LUN GONG members) can be seen widely in the streets. These are probably non-existent in many countries in asia.
Hong Kong is a perfectly safe place to visit and to live - more safe than any western city I've been in. We lived there for a year & loved it. To date the one country two systems status has been working fine. You will find the people there very friendly - especially if you learn the language (I'm guilty of not .. shame on me) you will be able to communicate with the locals. Don't just try to meet and hang out with the western expats - you could end up with a totally wrong impression of HK. Not to say that they are all bad - but many are simply boors. The area is full of things to do - many cultural events, shopping, sight-seeing, hiking (HK is 75% uninhabited), and it is really fun just wondering around & discovering new things about the area. And mainland China, for all it's faults, is quite a great place to visit as well, though much more subdued (except for the continual expansion and construction). Macau is quaint & gaudy at the same time - a great getaway from HK. Don't worry about the politics - they won't affect you as a visitor or an expat. And even if you choose to join in to a protest - you won't have any problems as the protests are usually organized & sanctioned by the local government. Most locals seemed to me to be quite satisfied. Who's to know about the long term future though? Who's to know what's going to happen with one's own country's freedoms???
Go to HK. Have fun. Live.