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New Left Review 66, November-December 2010


hung ho-fung

UNCERTAINTY IN THE ENCLAVE

In 1989, there were massive mobilizations in the then-British colony of Hong Kong in support of the Tiananmen Square protestors. Ever since then, the Chinese Communist Party has been concerned by the possibility that Hong Kong, which was returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 under the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement, might become a weak link in its authoritarian rule. Since the 1980s, when negotiations for the handover began, Beijing has repeatedly promised that the Chief Executive and Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (hksar) would eventually be elected locally through universal suffrage. But in practice, Beijing has unbendingly sought to perpetuate the oligarchical political structure left behind by the British. It has found ready allies in the Hong Kong business elite, who have enjoyed privileged access to political power since colonial times.

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