Hong Kong: 'Captive Colony'

It is more than three years since the handover for Hong Kong to China. An article in Fortune magazine some two years before that, pronounced the death of the territory. The author argued: ‘As Hong Kong becomes a captive colony of Beijing and increasingly begins to resemble just another mainland city, governed by corruption and political connection rather than the even-handed rule of law, it seems destined to become a global backwater’.

The World Today Published 1 August 2000 Updated 28 October 2020 5 minute READ

Yiu-chung Wong

Department of Politics and sociology, Lingnan University, Hong Kong

The remarks were not without political shrewdness. What is strange is that the author later said that he was wrong in his prophecy because what he had predicted had not happened. In fact, despite plans to hold the second legislative elections in September, events in Hong Kong since the handover are increasingly confirming the truth of his observations of five years ago.

One country, two systems for hong kong was enshrined in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. To ensure a smooth transition, the People’s Republic of China promised to implement that policy allowing a ‘high degree of autonomy’ for at least fifty years.

China also enacted a Basic Law which codified the policy into legal provisions. But, what has happened to China’s non-interventionism? To what extent has the implementation of the concept of one country, two systems, been successful?

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