Implementation of China's Hong Kong policy : a study of the drafting of Hong Kong Basic Law, 1985-90
Abstract of the thesis entitled
" Implementation of China's Hong Kong policy: A study of the drafting of Hong Kong Basic Law, 1985-90"
Submitted by Ho Ka Ki, Lawrence
For the Degree of Master of Philosophy
at the University of Hong Kong
In March 2000
This thesis aims to explain the challenges posed to China? policy implementation process presented by the resumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong. Different from the existing studies which emphasized the confrontations between Britain and China, this study adopts a new perspective by utilizing the concepts of policy implementation studies to analyze the issues surrounding the implementation of China? Hong Kong policies throughout the transition period.
Adopting Grindle? framework of implementation studies, this study hopes to reveal and explain the transformation of China? strategies and tactics throughout the Basic Law drafting process. By employing several of Grindle's concepts for successful policy implementation: administrative institutionalization, environmental stability and public responsiveness, this study has made an examination on: 1) The effectiveness of Beijing? policy instructions and its administrative mechanisms to facilitate the implementation of its policies; 2) The political, social and economic contexts of Hong Kong and the subsequent changes in those contexts which affected Beijing? implementation decisions; and 3) The effect of the above two dimensions on shaping the behavior of the Hong Kong people which, in turn, influenced the final decisions of the PRC leaders in certain policy areas.
This thesis argues that by revising its target of united front in Hong Kong, China has relatively successfully ensured a smooth transition of sovereignty in 1997. Beijing leaders adapted to the pluralist politics of Hong Kong under British administration and took a more consultative style of decision making in the drafting of the Basic Law. Given the assertion of its sovereign control over Hong Kong after 1997, China has adopted two-fold approach to deal with Hong Kong elites?demands during the process. On one hand, the communist leaders adopted the conservative
proposals of the businessmen and industrialists on the democratic development, and made considerable concession to the profession? demands on revising the provisions of Central-local relations after the public consultation process. On the other decline the proposals as advocated by the pro-democracy groups to hold a referendum to determine the evolution of political structure, and did not accept the legitimacy of the Executive and Legislative Councils on the grounds that they were only the advisory institution for the colonial government. 4) The June Fourth event in June 1989 drastically and comprehensively altered the prevailing context for implementation. While it witnessed a major realignment on policy directions and changes on administrative personnel of both British and Chinese governments, it also reversed the perception of Hong Kong elite towards the Beijing government thereby affected their behavior at the final stage of drafting process.
The study concludes that China? experience in dealing with the Hong Kong issue has great significance for the top leadership to cope with a more pluralized policy process. The Beijing leaders accepted the legitimacy of some Hong Kong interest groups (conservative business elite and professional groups) and accepted some of their suggestions when during the Basic Law. This was the first time that the Chinese authorities departed from their usual practice of consulting only within the bureaucracy and incorporated the opinions from autonomous interest groups in the society in their policymaking and implementation processes. While the lesson provides valuable experience for those Beijing leaders who are pursuing a policy aimed at reunifying Taiwan, this experience will also enable them to overcome the upcoming difficulties in implementing future policies in the mainland. With the expected growth of pluralization in the society in mainland over the coming decade, it is foreseeable that the Chinese bureaucracy will have to confront and deal with the external forces that consistently emerge in an increasingly marketized economy.
School:The University of Hong Kong
School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:constitutional law china hong kong history transfer of sovereignty from greatbritain 1997
Date of Publication:01/01/2001