Leadership in Hong Kong: The fragile ‘One Country Two Systems’ and the China factor

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Citation: Hak Yin Li, “Leadership in Hong Kong: The fragile “One Country Two Systems” and the China factor”, in Leadership: Political-Economic, Regional Business and Socio-Community Contexts, ed. Tai Wei Lim and Carol Ma (Singapore: World Scientific, 2020), 121-131.

Abstract: The focus of this chapter is to analyse the increasing mainlandization in Hong Kong, wherein Beijing seeks to enhance its political control over the “one country, two systems” framework. However, Hong Kong’s leaders, primarily referring to the Chief Executive (CE) and the executive administration, face challenges in preserving Hong Kong’s traditional semi-democratic political system. By adopting an institutional perspective, this chapter examines the growing influence of Beijing’s institutions in Hong Kong, such as the Office of the Commissioner in Hong Kong under China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Liaison Office. Additionally, Hong Kong’s “executive-led structure” faces challenges from the central government, which modifies the rules of the game through the Basic Law and influences top leadership elections through the support of Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing business elites. This chapter provides insights into the evolving central-local relations between Beijing and Hong Kong, and addresses pertinent policy implications related to mainlandization and the passive role of Hong Kong’s leadership following the handover.