The Involvement of the Business Elite in the Drafting of Hong Kong’s Basic Law and the Problems of the United Front Policy, 1985–1990
From 1985 to 1990, a number of groups participated in the drafting of the Basic Law, which would be the “mini-constitution” of the SAR after Hong Kong’s reversion to Chinese sovereignty. During this period, the Hong Kong people engaged in fierce debates as the different groups put forth their proposals for the most suitable political institutions of the future SAR. The most heated arguments were centered on the constitutional structure of the SAR, namely, the election of its chief executive and legislature.1 These five years, crucial in Hong Kong’s history, witnessed the implementation of China’s united front policy toward the territory. Beijing adopted characteristic united front tactics to secure allies, win over those who were neutral, and fight opponents, with the ultimate aim to increase the number of China’s supporters. This chapter argues that Beijing had considerable difficulty in achieving this objective.
KeywordsChief Executive Business Leader Political Reform Electoral College Business Establishment
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Ming K. Chan, “Democracy Derailed: Realpolitik in the Making of the Hong Kong Basic Law, 1985–90,” in The Hong Kong Basic Law: Blueprint for “Stability and Prosperity” under Chinese Sovereignty?, ed. Ming K. Chan and David J. Clark (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1991), p. 13.Google Scholar
- 3.Ian Scott, Political Change and the Crisis of Legitimacy in Hong Kong (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1989), p. 206.Google Scholar
- 4.Zhang Jiefeng and others, Bubian, wushi nian?: Zhong Ying Gang jiaoli Jibenfa [No change for fifty years?: China, Britain and Hong Kong wrestled with the Basic Law] (Hong Kong: Langchao chubanshe, 1991), p. 38.Google Scholar
- 5.Xu Jiatun, Xu Jiatun Xianggang huiyilu [Xu Jiatun’s Hong Kong memoirs], vol. 1 (Hong Kong: Xianggang lianhebao, 1994), p. 131. The HKMWC was actually the CCP in Hong Kong. For a secondary account of Xu Jiatun’s united front policy toward the business elite, read Wai-kwok Wong, “Can Co-optation Win Over the Hong Kong People? China’s United Front Work in Hong Kong Since 1984,” Issues & Studies 33, no. 5 (May 1997): 116–19.Google Scholar
- 8.Richard Hughes, Borrowed Place, Borrowed Time: Hong Kong and Its Many Faces, 2nd rev. ed. (London: André Deutsch, 1976), p. 23.Google Scholar
- 9.Ambrose Y. C. King, “The Hong Kong Talks and Hong Kong Politics,” Issues & Studies 22, no. 6 (June 1986): 69–71.Google Scholar
- 44.Emily L. M. Malik Modern Politics Come Late to Colonial Legco Far Eastern Economic Review 1987 40 43Google Scholar