Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region

  • Susan J. Henders


Since 1949, the leaders of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have firmly rejected federalism and insisted on the state’s unitary structure. Yet, they have sometimes deviated from a formally homogeneous distribution of territorial political authority, responding to the exigencies of state- and nation-building as well as economic development. The special status arrangements applied to the British colony of Hong Kong and Portuguese-administered Macau are recent examples. In negotiations with the British government in the 1980s, the PRC leadership agreed to apply what it termed its “one country, two systems” policy to Hong Kong. The special status policy facilitated incorporation of the liberal capitalist territory into China on July 1, 1997. It promised Hong Kong would have a high degree of autonomy for 50 years from that date. As the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the minority t erritorial community would maintain its capitalist s ystem and liberal r ights and freedoms. Although there were strict limits on the degree of political autonomy the PRC government would permit the territory, it was promised considerably more self-rule than other parts of China (see Lieberthal 1995).


Central Government Chief Executive Chinese Communist Party Asian Financial Crisis Special Administrative Region 
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© Susan J. Henders 2010

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  • Susan J. Henders

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