Suzanne Pepper: Hong Kong’s Political Future

For the China Elections and Governance website, Suzanne Pepper reevaluates the relationship between Hong Kong and Beijing, now that more than a decade has passed since the handover:

Today, more than a decade has passed and international public opinion still deems Hong Kong’s transfer from British to Chinese rule a good job well done. Hence government officials, legal scholars, and investors continue to cite the Hong Kong precedent as a solution for other similar problems of disputed governance around China’s periphery including especially Taiwan and Tibet. This would be fine except that the precedent cited is already out-of-date since it is based on pre-1997 images and post-1997 appearances all carefully maintained by the principal stakeholders, that is, the Chinese, British, and Hong Kong governments. In such situations, of course, pretense cannot diverge too far from reality before cognitive dissonance sets in and for Hong Kong itself that point is fast approaching as the long-term implications of recent official Chinese decisions begin to appear. They suggest that some serious recalibration of the Hong Kong model is now in order.

See also a previous article by Pepper, “National security versus civil liberties: The case of China’s Special Administrative Regions.”


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