The Dynamics of Beijing-Hong Kong Relations

The Dynamics of Beijing-Hong Kong Relations: A Model for Taiwan?

Sonny Shiu-Hing Lo
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    The Dynamics of Beijing-Hong Kong Relations
    Book Description:

    This book critically assesses the implementation of the "one country, two systems" in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) from the political, judicial, legal, economic and societal dimensions. The author contends that there has been a gradual process of mainlandization of the HKSAR, meaning that Hong Kong is increasingly economically dependent on the People's Republic of China (PRC), politically deferent to the central government on the scope and pace of democratic reforms, socially more patriotic toward the motherland and more prone to media self-censorship, and judicially more vulnerable to the interpretation of the Basic Law by the National People's Congress. This book aims to achieve a breakthrough in relating the development of Hong Kong politics to the future of mainland China and Taiwan. By broadening the focus of the "one country, two systems" from governance to the process of Sino-British negotiations and their thrust-building efforts, this book argues that the diplomats from mainland China and Taiwan can learn from the ways in which Hong Kong's political future was settled in 1982-1984. This is a book for students, researchers, scholars, diplomats and lay people.

    eISBN: 978-988-8052-88-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong from Britain to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on July 1, 1997 was a crucial experiment with the concept of “one country, two systems” designed and proposed by the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. With Taiwan as the final target of reunification with China in mind, Deng hoped that the retrocession of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) would be as smooth as possible, laying the groundwork for his successors’ attempt at wooing Taiwan back to the PRC orbit.

    Nevertheless, as this book will argue, the governance of the HKSAR...

  6. 1 Patron-Client Pluralism and Beijing’s Relations with Hong Kong
    (pp. 7-38)

    The study of the political relationships between the HKSAR and its motherland, the PRC, has embraced at least several perspectives: Hong Kong’s annexation of the mainland; the clash of civilizations; Beijing’s political control over Hong Kong; bureaucratic politics; planning and coordination; and fiscal relations.¹ This chapter reviews these perspectives and will advance a modified form of patron-clientelism, which entails political patrons operating in a pluralistic environment where the support from clients and followers cannot be ensured and where non-clients are determined to oppose the clientelistic regime. The conventional wisdom on patron-client politics is that the relationships between a superior patron...

  7. 2 The Mainlandization of Hong Kong
    (pp. 39-80)

    Since Hong Kong’s return of its sovereignty from Britain to the PRC on July 1, 1997, its political development has proved to be turbulent. This chapter aims at analyzing the dynamics contributing to Hong Kong’s governing crisis. It will argue that the most significant factor leading to its governance crisis from July 1997 to March 2005 was the tension between convergence and divergence. While the concern of “one country” has been propelling Hong Kong toward a system more politically similar to the PRC than ever before, the demands of maintaining the “two systems” has become an obstacle to the policy...

  8. 3 The Politics of Judicial Autonomy
    (pp. 81-108)

    The question of judicial autonomy of the HKSAR became heavily politicized from January 1999, when the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) made a controversial decision on the right of abode of the mainland Chinese, to June 1999 as the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (SCNPC) of the PRC was requested by the HKSAR government to interpret the Basic Law — the mini-constitution of the HKSAR — concerning the right of abode issue.¹ For the CFA, the courts of the HKSAR have not only the final power of adjudication but also the power to review whether the legislative acts of the...

  9. 4 The Emergence of Constitutional Conventions
    (pp. 109-132)

    The origin of the concept of conventions can be traced back to British scholars who wrote on the relationships between law and politics. A. V. Dicey referred to conventions as customs, practices, maxims, or precepts that embraced a group of constitutional or political ethics.² Sir Ivor Jennings distinguished conventions from non-obligatory usages or practices.³ To Jennings, conventions are supported by constitutional reason or principle, but usages are not. He treats conventions as a homogeneous group of rules, whereas John Mackintosh in The British Cabinet identified different orders of constitutional conventions.⁴ Mackintosh remarked that some conventions are fundamental, meaning that breaking...

  10. 5 The Implementation of the Basic Law
    (pp. 133-150)

    While the previous chapter has explored the evolutions of constitutional conventions in the HKSAR, this chapter is going to explore the emergent conventions governing the Beijing-HKSAR relations. By reviewing the content of the Basic Law and how it has been implemented in reality since Hong Kong’s retrocession to the PRC, we will delineate the new practices and conventions in Beijing’s relations with the HKSAR. Finally, the difficulties of making constitutional conventions absolutely obligatory in the evolving relationships between Beijing and the HKSAR will be discussed.

    Constitutional practices and conventions develop through the implementation of the HKSAR mini-constitution, the Basic Law....

  11. 6 Identity Change from the National Security Debate to Celebrations of the Tenth Anniversary
    (pp. 151-184)

    Bismark’s famous remark that “politics is the art of the possible” can surely be applied to the HKSAR, where the public opposition to the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill in 2003 gradually transformed into celebration of the tenth anniversary of the HKSAR on July 1, 2007. Indeed, the nature of the two issues was different — one posing a threat to civil liberties and the other representing the motherland’s glorious recovery of its sovereignty over Hong Kong. Nevertheless, amidst the changes was arguably a gradual transformation of political identity from being anti-national security legislation to strong pro-reunification sentiments. While the anti-national...

  12. 7 The Election of the Hong Kong Deputies to the National People’s Congress
    (pp. 185-198)

    The second election of the Hong Kong deputies to the Tenth NPC of the PRC was held on December 3, 2002 — five years after the first election had been held for the Hong Kong members of the Ninth NPC in the HKSAR.¹ The registration of contestants for the candidacy of Hong Kong deputies to the Tenth NPC was completed on November 18, 2002. There were 99 participants in the 15–day nomination period.² Of the 99 participants, 78 formally submitted their registration forms, which required at least ten nominations in order to make each registration effective. A total of 36...

  13. 8 A Fusion of Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong Political Cultures in the 2007 Chief Executive Election
    (pp. 199-226)

    Since the return of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to the PRC, democratization in the HKSAR has been proceeding slowly mainly due to a serious clash of political cultures between the pro-democracy Hongkongers and Beijing.¹ The pro-democracy forces contend that the pace of democratic reforms in the HKSAR has to be accelerated immediately, including the selection of the chief executive by universal suffrage and the direct election of the entire LegCo. However, Beijing and the HKSAR government maintain that democratization has to proceed in a gradual and orderly manner. From Beijing’s perspective, democratic reforms in the HKSAR cannot allow the pro-democracy forces...

  14. 9 Applying the Spirit of “One Country, Two Systems” to Taiwan’s Political Future
    (pp. 227-252)

    As argued in the previous chapters, the content of Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” cannot be applied to the resolution of Taiwan’s political future. The political system of the HKSAR is vastly different from that of Taiwan. Therefore, any attempt by the PRC to exert political control on the Taiwan polity will surely be counter-productive. Although the “one country, two systems” is practised in the HKSAR, and less so in the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) where the polity, economy, and society have all been integrated into the PRC, the spirit of tolerating systemic differences and their existence between...

  15. 10 Conclusion
    (pp. 253-260)

    The innovative concept of “one country, two systems” was used by the late Chinese reformer Deng Xiaoping to tackle Hong Kong’s and Macao’s political future in the short run and to deal with Taiwan’s reunification matter in the long term. Although he passed away in 1997 and failed to witness the transfer of Hong Kong’s and Macao’s sovereignty and administration to Beijing respectively, his concept has evolved rapidly. The concept was implemented unskillfully by both the Tung leadership and Beijing’s clients in the HKSAR, leading to chaotic governance and public outcry, thus discrediting the “one country, two systems” model. Fortunately,...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 261-306)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 307-322)
  18. Index
    (pp. 323-334)