A study of Chinese negotiating behaviour in the Sino-British negotiations over Hong Kong

by Fok, Wai-lun

Abstract (Summary)
(Uncorrected OCR) Abstract of thesis entitled A Study of Chinese Negotiating Behaviour in the Sino-British Negotiations over Hong Kong submitted by Fok Wai Lun for the degree of Master of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong in August 1998 This thesis examines three cases of diplomatic negotiations between Britain and the People? Republic of China (PRC) concerning Hong Kong that were held between 1982 and 1993. By analysing the three cases, this work explores whether there is a peculiar and predictable Chinese diplomatic negotiating style, as some scholars have asserted. The Sino-British negotiations under study were the Sino-British Joint Declaration negotiations (1982-84), the Sino-British talks over the construction of new airport project in Hong Kong (1990-91) and the Sino-British talks over Hong Kong? 1994/95 electoral arrangements (1993). The specific tasks of this study are: (a) To examine whether there was a Chinese style of diplomatic negotiating behaviour in the three Sino-British negotiations; (b) To identify the key factors that had shaped the Chinese negotiating behaviour; (c) To assess the effectiveness of the Chinese negotiating style. The study concludes that while a Chinese diplomatic negotiating style in the three Sino-British negotiations can be identified, it was neither always predictable nor necessarily peculiar to China. The Chinese style included four key features. First, the Chinese negotiators always began negotiation by proposing to reach an agreement, verbal or written, on certain generally-worded principles before discussing substantial issues. Second, they applied propaganda and public pressures on the British side in order to extract significant concessions from them. Third, they insisted to negotiate in Beijing and refused the participation of Hong Kong representatives in the negotiations. Fourth, they usually made concessions towards the end of the negotiations when the bottomline of the British side had been adequately probed and when the Beijing leadership wanted to have a deal. In the meantime, however, the Chinese diplomats also negotiated differently in the talks. Moreover, some of the British and Chinese negotiating behaviours during the talks were similar to each other. The Chinese negotiating behaviour in the Sino-British talks was shaped by a number of key factors. They were: the political environment, bargaining power of the negotiating parties, China? decision-making structure on the negotiations, Chinese political culture and diplomatic tradition, China? policy towards Hong Kong, the Sino-British relationship over Hong Kong and the change of British negotiating strategy. The dynamic nature of some of these factors have also brought about changes of the Chinese behaviour. It is clear that diplomatic negotiation is not conducted in a contextual vacuum and pattern of the behaviour should not be viewed from static and simplistic terms. The Chinese diplomatic negotiating style has helped the PRC? peaceful recovery of Hong Kong as it desired. Through the negotiations, the Chinese diplomats also strengthened China? influences over the territory. But Chinese weaknesses also had been exploited by the British negotiators in the Airport talks and the talks on Hong Kong? 1994/95 electoral arrangements. This study describes and explains Chinese diplomatic negotiating behaviour in the Sino-British talks in detail. It provides a solid basis for more extensive analysis of Chinese negotiating styles with other international actors on different issues across time.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Hong Kong

School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:negotiation china foreign relations great britain hong kong history transfer of sovereignty from greatbritain 1997 politics and government 1945


Date of Publication:01/01/1999

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