Birds in a Cage: Political Institutions and Civil Society in Hong Kong

  • Stan Hok-Wui Wong


This chapter provides an overview of Hong Kong’s political system and the development of the city’s civil society. How did Hong Kong become China’s democratic enclave? Why would the notoriously draconian Chinese authoritarian state permit the city to keep a relatively liberal political and media environment? How did the Chinese authoritarian state design the political institutions of Hong Kong in order to defend its political interests? These questions are addressed based on an analysis of the formal political institutions of postcolonial Hong Kong and the city’s political developments in the 1980s and 1990s.


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Chief Executive Civil Liberty Chinese Communist Party Plurality Rule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Carroll, J. M. (2007). A concise history of Hong Kong. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  2. Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong. (2012). Hong Kong monthly digest of statistics, 4 2012.Google Scholar
  3. Cha, L. Y. (1984). On Hong Kong’s future. Hong Kong: Ming Pao Daily News.Google Scholar
  4. Chan, J. M.-M., Fu, H., & Ghai, Y. (2000). Hong Kong’s constitutional debate: Conflict over interpretation (Vol. 1). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Cheng, J. Y.-S. (1984). Hong Kong: In search of a future. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Cheung, A. B. L. (2000). New interventionism in the making: Interpreting state interventions in Hong Kong after the change of sovereignty. Journal of Contemporary China, 9(24), 291–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cho, Y. N. (2010). Local people’s congresses in China: Development and transition. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. DeGolyer, M. E. (2004). How the stunning outbreak of disease led to a stunning outbreak of dissent. In C. Loh (Ed.), At the epicentre: Hong Kong and the SARS outbreak. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  9. DeGolyer, M. E., & Scott, J. L. (1996). The myth of political apathy in Hong Kong. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 547, 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deng, X. (2004). Deng Xiaoping lun ‘Yiguo Liangzhi’ [Deng Xiaoping Discusses ‘One Country Two Systems’]. Hong Kong: Joint Publishing.Google Scholar
  11. Feng, B. Y. (1997). Xianggang Huazi Caituan: 1841–1997 [Hong Kong Chinese Conglomerates]. Hong Kong: Joint Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Fong, P. K. W., & Yeh, A. G. O. (1987). Hong Kong. In Ha, K.-S. (Ed.), Housing policy and practice in Asia. New York: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  13. Gehlbach, S., & Keefer, P. (2011). Investment without democracy: Ruling-party institutionalization and credible commitment in autocracies. Journal of Comparative Economics, 39(2), 123–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ghai, Y. P. (1999). Hong Kong’s new constitutional order: The resumption of Chinese sovereignty and the Basic Law. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Goodstadt, L. F. (2005). Uneasy partners: The conflict between public interest and private profit in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hamilton, A., Madison, J., & Jay, J. (2008). The federalist papers. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hayek, F. A. (1960). The constitution of liberty. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hong Kong Economic Journal. (2012). Tsang Yok-sing: Central Government Has Reservations about Party Politics [Tsang Yok-sing chang: zhongyang dui zhengdang zhengzhi rengyou baoliu], 29 Feb 2012.Google Scholar
  19. Hughes, R. (1968). Hong Kong: Borrowed place, borrowed time. London: Deutsch.Google Scholar
  20. Kamo, T., & Takeuchi, H. (2013). Representation and local people’s congresses in China: A case study of the yangzhou municipal people’s congress. Journal of Chinese Political Science, 18(1), 41–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. King, A. Y.-C. (1975). Administrative absorption of politics in Hong Kong: Emphasis on the grass roots level. Asian Survey, 15(5), 422–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kuan, C.-H., Lau, K.-S., Louie, S.-K., & Wong, Y.-K. (Eds.). (1999). Power transfer and electoral politics: The first legislative election in the Hong Kong special administrative region. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Lam, C.-H. (1984). Thoughts and facts about the problems of Hong Kong’s future. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Economic Journal.Google Scholar
  24. Lam, C.-H. (1989). Emigrants left with money drains funds for infrastructure, 28 Nov 1989.Google Scholar
  25. Lam, M.-W. (2004). Understanding the political culture of Hong Kong: The paradox of activism and depoliticization. Armonk: ME Sharpe.Google Scholar
  26. Lau, K.-S. (1981). The government, intermediate organizations, and grass-roots politics in Hong Kong. Asian Survey, 21(8), 865–884.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lau, K.-S. (1984). Society and politics in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Lau, K.-S., & Kuan, H.-C. (1988). The ethos of the Hong Kong Chinese. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Lee, E. W. Y. (1999). Governing post-colonial Hong Kong: Institutional incongruity, governance crisis, and authoritarianism. Asian Survey, 39(6), 940–959.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lee, F. L. F., & Chan, J. M. (2011). Media, social mobilisation and mass protests in post-colonial Hong Kong: The power of a critical event. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Leung, S.-W. (1991). The “China factor” in the 1991 legislative council election: The june 4th incident and anti-Communist China syndrome. In S.-K. Lau & H.-C. Kuan (Eds.), The Hong Kong tried democracy: The 1991 elections in Hong Kong (pp. 187–235). Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies.Google Scholar
  32. Leung, S.-W. (1996). The “China factor” and voters’ choice in the 1995 legislative council election. In H.-C. Kuan, et al. (Eds.), The 1995 legislative council elections in Hong Kong (pp. 201–44). Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies.Google Scholar
  33. Levi, M. (1989). Of rule and revenue. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  34. Lieberthal, K. (1992). The future of Hong Kong. Asian Survey, 32(7), 666–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lo, S.-H. (1994). An analysis of Sino-British negotiations over Hong Kong’s political reform. Contemporary Southeast Asia, 16(2), 178–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lu, P. (2009). Lu Ping’s oral history of Hong Kong’s reunification [Lu Ping Koushu Xianggang Huigui]. Hong Kong: Joint Publishing.Google Scholar
  37. Lui, T.-L., Kuan, H.-C., Chan, K.-M., & Chan, S. C.-W. (2005). Friends and critics of the state: The case of Hong Kong. In R. P. Weller (Ed.), Civil life, globalization, and political change in Asia (pp. 58–75). London/New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ma, N. (2005). Civil society in self-defense: The struggle against national security legislation in Hong Kong. Journal of Contemporary China, 14(44), 465–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ma, N. (2012). An oral history of democratic movement of Hong Kong in the 1980s [Xianggang 80 niandai minzhu yundong koushu lishi]. Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong.Google Scholar
  40. Ma, N., & Choy, I. (1999). The evolution of the electoral system and party politics in Hong Kong. Issues & Studies, 35(1), 167–194.Google Scholar
  41. Ma, N., & Choy, I. (2003). Political consequences of electoral systems: The Hong Kong proportional representation system. Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press.Google Scholar
  42. Magaloni, B. (2008). Credible power-sharing and the longevity of authoritarian rule. Comparative Political Studies, 41(4/5), 715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Manion, M. (2008). When Communist party candidates can lose, who wins? Assessing the role of local people’s congresses in the selection of leaders in China. The China Quarterly, 195, 607–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Manion, M. (2014). “good types” in authoritarian elections the selectoral connection in Chinese local congresses. Comparative Political Studies, 0010414014537027.Google Scholar
  45. Mathews, G., Ma, E., & Lui, T.-L. (2007). Hong Kong, China: Learning to belong to a nation (Vol. 10). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  46. Miners, N. (1995). The government and politics of Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Ngo, T.-W. (2002). Industrial history and the artifice of laissez-faire colonialism. In T.-W. Ngo (Ed.), Hong Kong’s history: State and society under colonial rule. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  48. Olson, M. (2008). The rise and decline of nations: Economic growth, stagflation, and social rigidities. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Petersen, C. J. (2005). Hong Kong’s spring of discontent: The rise and fall of the national security bill in 2003. In H. Fu, C. J. Petersen, & S. N. M. Young (Eds.), National security and fundamental freedoms: Hong Kong’s article 23 under scrutiny. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Qian, Q. (2004). Ten diplomatic anecdotes [waijiao shiji]. Hong Kong: Joint Publishing.Google Scholar
  51. Qiang, S. (2008). Zhongguo Xianggang: Wenhua yu Zhengzhi Shiye [Chinese Hong Kong: Cultural and Political Perspectives]. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Schiffer, J. R. (1991). State policy and economic growth: A note on the Hong Kong model. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 15(2), 180–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Scott, I. (1989). Political change and the crisis of legitimacy in Hong Kong. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
  54. Scott, I. (2000). The disarticulation of Hong Kong’s post-handover political system. The China Journal, 43, 29–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sing, M. (2004). Hong Kong’s tortuous democratization: A comparative analysis (Vol. 2). London/New York:RoutledgeCurzon.Google Scholar
  56. So, A. Y. (2011). “One country, two systems” and Hong Kong-China national integration: A crisis-transformation perspective. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 41(1), 99–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. State Statistical Bureau, the People’s Republic of China. (1987). China- trade and price statistics in 1987.Google Scholar
  58. Ta Kung Pao. (2013). Tsang Yok-sing suggests chief executive should have party background [Tsang Yok-sing chang teshou ju zhengdang Beijing], 29 May 2013.Google Scholar
  59. Tsang, S. Y.-S. (2001). Judicial independence and the rule of law in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Vogel, E. F. (2011). Deng Xiaoping and the transformation of China. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Washington Post. (2000). Discontent Afflicts Hong Kong; Protest Epidemic Reflects Rising Anxiety of Midle Class, 28 June 2000.Google Scholar
  62. Weng, B. (1998). The first year of the HKSAR: Changes in the political institutions. CSIS Hong Kong Update, 1–4.Google Scholar
  63. Xia, M. (2007). The People’s congresses and governance in China: Toward a network mode of governance. Abingdon/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  64. Xiao, Y. (1990). “One country, two systems” and Hong Kong basic legal system [Yiguo liangzhi yu xianggang jiben falu zhidu]. Beijing: Peking University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Xu, J. (1993). Xu jiatun xianggang huiyilu [xu jiatun’s Hong Kong memoir]. United Daily News.Google Scholar
  66. Xu, J. (1998). Memoirs and thoughts of Xu Jiatun. New York: Mirror Books Limited.Google Scholar
  67. Yep, R. (2009). ‘One country, two systems’ and special administrative regions: The case of Hong Kong. In J. H. Chung & T.-C. Lam (Eds.), China’s local administration: Traditions and changes in the sub-national hierarchy (pp. 86–110). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  68. Young, S. N. M., & Cullen, R. (2010). Electing Hong Kong’s chief executive. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Young, S. N. M., Law, A., & Exchange, C. (2004). A Critical Introduction to Hong Kong’s Functional Constituencies. Hong Kong: Civic Exchange.Google Scholar
  70. Youngson, A. J. (1982). Hong Kong, economic growth and policy. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stan Hok-Wui Wong
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Government and Public AdministrationChinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong SAR

Personalised recommendations