Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific

Hong Kong

London and Canberra offer citizenship for Hongkongers

A couple hugs each other as police fire tear gas into the crowds to disperse anti-national security law protesters during a march on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from Britain to China, Hong Kong, 1 July 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu).

Author: Tim Summers, Chatham House and CUHK

Following the announcement and enactment of a national security law for Hong Kong by China’s National People’s Congress, both the British and Australian governments have offered ‘pathways to citizenship’ for some of Hong Kong’s population. Why have they done this, and what are the implications?

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Will the national security law ruin Hong Kong’s economic future?

Buildings are seen above Hong Kong and Chinese flags, as pro-China supporters celebration after China's parliament passes national security law for Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, 30 June 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu).

Author: Yan Liang, Willamette University

Hong Kong’s controversial new national security law has sparked debate about its economic future. The law is generally portrayed in the Western media as a major step by Beijing to chip away at Hong Kong’s autonomy, leading to grim perceptions of Hong Kong’s future.

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Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy in the balance

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, wearing a face mask following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, attends a news conference with officers over Beijing’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong, China 22 May 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu).

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Institute for China-America Studies

On 1 July 2017, on the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s reversion to Chinese rule, President Xi Jinping laid down three ‘red lines’ for handling the relationship between Hong Kong and the central government. Crossing them would be met with a resolute response. Three years on, that response has come to pass. While Hong Kong’s new China-mandated national security law may be fit and proper in a strictly constitutional sense, China should keep in mind Hong Kong’s common law practises and sensibilities while crafting its fine print. Read more…

The end of ‘one country, two systems’?

Demonstrators protesting the proposed extradition bill aim their flashlights towards riot police as they are chased through the streets of Hong Kong, China, 25 August , 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Kurniawan).

Author: Joseph Yu Shek Cheng, Hong Kong

In May 2020, China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) passed a resolution to impose a national security law on Hong Kong. Chinese leaders defended the move as essential for China’s security — closing a gap that could be exploited by hostile countries to introduce a colour revolution to China. Hong Kong’s Basic Law allows the NPC to introduce legislation for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), to be attached to Annex III. This provision allows Chinese authorities to retain final legal control.

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The global pushback against China’s overreach in Hong Kong

Supporters of Hong Kong anti-government movement gather at Liberty Square in Taipei, Taiwan, 13 June, 2020 (Reuters/Wang).

Author: Andreas Fulda, University of Nottingham

On 28 May 2020, with a vote of 2878 to 1, China’s rubber stamp National People’s Congress passed and enacted its new controversial Hong Kong national security legislation. It sent a clear message to the international community: Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ model is history. But the process of hollowing out Hong Kong’s autonomy started much earlier.

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Hong Kong autonomy and the National People’s Congress

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk after Lam took her oath, during the 20th anniversary of the city's handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China, 1 July 2017 (Reuters/Bobby Yip/File Photo).

Author: Jocelyn Chey, Sydney University

Hong Kong’s future is gloomy, but it should not be written off yet. It plays a vital role in the interface between the China and the rest of the world. Its future is not and never could be autonomy and most Hongkongers understand that. It may be that outside forces have prompted some to make such demands and exacerbated tensions. Local protests continue, including observance of the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Read more…

Hong Kong’s COVID-19 debate: are health and freedom really at odds?

Playground is seen temporary closed, following the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Hong Kong, China, 29 March 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu).

Authors: Joseph H Walline, CUHK and Priscilla P Song, HKU

Hong Kong has faced a series of infectious disease threats over the past two decades, including H5N1 avian influenza (1997), SARS (2003), H1N1 swine influenza (2009) and MERS (2015). In response, the Hong Kong government developed a series of ‘preparedness and response’ plans to address infectious diseases of public health concern. This system was activated to the highest level on 25 January 2020 when a train passenger from Wuhan became the first confirmed COVID-19 patient in Hong Kong. Read more…

National People’s Congress reveals the disconnect in China’s global authority

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang cast their votes on the national security legislation for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 28 May 2020 (Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins).

Author: Editorial Board, ANU

China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) convened last week, as part of the annual ‘Two Sessions’ meeting designed to enact national laws previously deliberated upon by the Chinese Communist Party.

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China’s National People’s Congress: soft on the outside, hard at the centre

Chinese officials and delegates attend the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 21 May 2020 (Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins).

Author: Kerry Brown, King’s College London

China’s convening of its annual parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), delayed due to COVID-19, finally took place from 22 to 28 May. It delivered predictably mixed messages. On the economic front, the tone was almost conciliatory and focussed on the tried and tested message of delivering growth, opening up to the world and regaining the momentum of reform. On the political front, however, the message on Hong Kong showed a totally different aspect. Read more…

The end of Hong Kong autonomy

Firefighters wearing gas masks check the chamber of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, China, 28 May 2020 (Photo: REUTERS/Jessie Pang).

Author: Jeppe Mulich, Cambridge University

After a year of protests and upheavals, Beijing is poised to put an end to Hong Kong’s autonomous status. The National People’s Congress (NPC) has approved a decision on new ‘Mechanisms for the Preservation of National Security’ in the Special Administrative Region.

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Solving Hong Kong’s housing affordability problem

Lung Hing House (Dragon Vigour House), one of 15 older public housing blocks in Hong Kong's Wong Tai Sin neighborhood that are named after dragons is pictured, 21 September 2019 (Reuters/James Pomfret).

Author: Ngai Ming Yip, City University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s housing is the most unaffordable in the world. Median income households have to spend 20 years of their earnings to buy a 60 square metre flat at an average cost of $US1.24 million. The biggest hurdle for buyers is the huge 40 per cent down payment on the value of the flat. Even then, they still have to devote nearly 60 per cent of their monthly income repaying the mortgage. Read more…

Is housing doomed to fail in super compact Hong Kong?

View of the Monster Building (Yik Cheong Building), one of Hong Kong's most Instragrammable sites, known for its incredibly dense and stacked flats, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, China, 18 December 2018 (Photo: Reuters/ChinaImages).

Author: Rebecca L H Chiu, University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s compact urban structure is the world’s most efficient and convenient urban system. Its nine new towns and the urban core comprise a decentralised but highly concentrated nodal development, with high rises of 40 stories and population densities of up to 130,000 persons per square kilometre. This enables the operation of an efficient, highly patronised and profitable public transport system that takes up 90 per cent of travel trips. It also allows for the provision of a fuller range of community and retail services within walking distance of residential areas. Read more…

Hong Kong’s coronavirus response adds fuel to protests

Residents wear facial masks as they march to protest against the government's plan to set up a quarantine site close to their community amid the Wuhan outbreak, in Hong Kong, China 2 February 2020 (Reuters/Tyrone Siu).

Author: Jeffrey Wasserstrom, UC Irvine

How long will Hong Kong’s protests last? Will Beijing send troops in to quell them? I grew used to being asked these two questions while working on Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink last year, but by the time the book published in February, a different pair of questions had taken their place. Will big gatherings in Hong Kong start up again once people stop worrying about the spread of the coronavirus? And how will this public health crisis affect Hong Kong’s future? Read more…

Hong Kong repression pushes Taiwan away from China

Police detain an anti-government protester after an anti-parallel trading protest at Sheung Shui, a border town in Hong Kong, 5 January 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu).

Authors: Fang-Yu Chen, Michigan State University, Austin Wang, University of Nevada, Charles K S Wu, Purdue University and Yao-Yuan Yeh, University of St Thomas

The repercussions of protest and unrest can stretch across borders. Events during 2019 have reshaped Taiwanese perceptions towards China and the so-called ‘one-country, two systems’ in Hong Kong.

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The price of accountability in Hong Kong

A man walks between stalls in an alley in the Central business district in Hong Kong, 22 August, 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter).

Author: Dominic Meagher, Australasia Strategy Group

It was a year like no other for Hong Kong in 2019. At its core, Hong Kong has been riven by a dispute over government accountability: should Hong Kong’s government be accountable to the people it governs, or only to the central authorities in Beijing? Failing to resolve this question has exacted a high price. Continued failure will only see that price grow. Read more…