Two Key Stumbling Blocks for Hong Kong’s Democratization: Personal Vote and Beijing’s Policies

Photo source: The Japan Times

Citation: Hak Yin Li, “Two key stumbling blocks for Hong Kong’s democratization: Personal vote and Beijing’s policies”, in Political Parties, Party Systems and Democratization in East Asia, ed. Liang Fook Lye and Wilhelm Hofmeister (Singapore: World Scientific, 2011), 291-319.

Abstract: Hong Kong has a high standard of socioeconomic development with effective government system and a solid foundation of rule of law. However, the democratization process in Hong Kong remains dull. This paper suggests that there are two key stumbling blocks for Hong Kong’s democratization. First, many political parties in Hong Kong have been focusing on providing constituency services in order to build up personal relations with voters, often resulting in votes for the candidate rather than for the party. This phenomenon not only undermines the proper role of the Legislative Council (Legco), but also the process of democratization. Second, Beijing’s economic, institutional and cultural policies have offered Hong Kongers great materialistic support, especially during economic downturns. By easing the general discontent among Hong Kongers and creating a stable and harmonious political climate, Beijing plays an important role in diluting the demand for democratization in Hong Kong.