Governmental Response to Popular Pressure

  • Shiu-hing Lo


O’Donnell and Schmitter assert that ‘democracy’s guiding principle’ is ‘citizenship’, which ‘involves both the right to be treated by fellow human beings as equal with respect to the making of collective choices and the obligation of those implementing such choices to be equally accountable and accessible to all members of the polity’.1 Specifically, democracy is characterised not only by the right of citizens to influence policy-makers, but also by the necessity of policymakers shouldering their responsibility to the public for their actions. To the extent that democracy can make the government more accountable to ordinary citizens, democratisation should entail an increase in governmental responsiveness to at least some public demands. As Bingham Powell put it, ‘From the point of view of the democratic process, it is important that the government is doing what citizens desire and that it be responsive to their changes in preferences’.2 This chapter deals with the extent to which the executive branch of the Hong Kong government responds to popular pressure and demands, which have erupted since the unprecedented politicisation during the latter half of the 1980s.


Advisory Committee Government Official Popular Pressure Labour Sector Governmental Response 
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  1. 2.
    G. Bingham Powell, Jr, Contemporary Democracies: Participation, Stability, and Violence (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1982), p. 186.Google Scholar
  2. 16.
    See David Clark, ‘Commissioner for Administrative Ordinance 1988’, Hong Kong Law Journal, vol. 19, no. 1 (1989), pp. 69–70.Google Scholar
  3. Also see John P. Mackintosh, The Government and Politics of Britain (London: Hutchinson, 1979), pp. 123–124.Google Scholar
  4. 17.
    The ombudsman has no further power to follow up a matter after it is reported to the Governor, see Benny Tai Yiu-ting ‘The Hong Kong Ombudsman and the Bill of Rights’, in George E. Edwards and Andrew C. Byrnes, eds., Hong Kong’s Bill of Rights: The First Year (Hong Kong: Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong, 1993), p. 135.Google Scholar
  5. 19.
    Other channels include government departments, District Boards, District Office, ward offices of Urbco and Regco, Office of Members of Executive and Legislative Councils (OMELCO), the Independent Commission Against Corruption, judicial review, statutory appeals, and petitions to the Governor. For a complete list of grievance channels, see David Clark, ‘Towards a More Open Administration’, in Scott and Burns , eds., The Hong Kong Civil Service and Its Future (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1987), p. 172, Table 7.1.Google Scholar
  6. 20.
    See Lau Siu-kai and Kuan Hsin-chi, ‘Chinese Bureaucrats in a Modern Colony: The Case of Hong Kong’, The Occasional paper no. 16, September 1986, Institute of Social Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, pp. 10–11.Google Scholar
  7. 59.
    Chow Wing-sun, Hong Kong People Hong Kong Affairs (in Chinese) (Hong Kong: Ming Cheong, 1987), p. 69.Google Scholar
  8. 62.
    Chow, Hong Kong People Hong Kong Affairs, op. cit., p. 70. Also see Mark K. Y. Li, ‘Interest Groups and the Debate on the Establishment of a Central Provident Fund in Hong Kong’, Asian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 11, no. 2 (December 1989), p. 231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 66.
    See Cheung Bing-leung, Hong Kong Public Administration and Public Policy (in Chinese) (Hong Kong: Wide Angle, 1988), pp. 116–117.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lo Shiu-hing 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shiu-hing Lo
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Hong KongChina

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