Signed between the Chinese and British governments on December 19, 1984, the Joint Declaration sets out the basic policies of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) regarding Hong Kong, including “one country, two systems,” that guarantees that Hong Kong can maintain its capitalist system and way for life for 50 years. The Joint Declaration provides that these basic policies shall be stipulated in a Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
The Basic Law, the constitution for the HKSAR, was adopted on April 4, 1990, by the National People’s Congress (NPC) of the PRC and came into effect on July 1, 1997. It legally enshrines the important concepts of “one country, two systems,” “a high degree of autonomy” and “Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong.” Major provisions of the Basic Law set out the policies of the PRC regarding the HKSAR, including: the relationship between the central authority and the HKSAR; the protection of rights and freedoms; the political structure; the economy; education; science; culture; sports; religion; labor and social services; external relations; and interpretation and amendment of the Basic Law.
Nongovernmental, Policy, and Research Organizations in Hong Kong
Conducts local advocacy and awareness-building campaigns on key human rights issues affecting both Hong Kong and the mainland, including women’s rights and the rights of refugees and migrants; organizes school workshops and educational lectures that introduce human rights value to young people.
Established by Hong Kong legislators and lawyers in 2007 to advocate for the protection of rights defense lawyers and legal activists in mainland China.
An outreach organization aimed at defending and promoting the rights of workers in China, with labor dispute resolution a key focus. Its Labour Rights Litigation Program provides legal advice and support to workers in cases of labor rights abuse.
A research program of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong that monitors media reform in mainland China and the factors inﬂuencing it.
A public policy think tank founded by former legislative councilor Christine Loh that promotes civic education, conducts research, and contributes to public debate on economic, social, and environmental issues in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region.
A grassroots activist group and the organizer of the annual June Fourth memorial in Victoria Park, the world’s largest public commemoration of the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Advocates on behalf of imprisoned rights defenders, supports China’s rights defense movement, and highlights issues affecting the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong citizens.
Provides services to women under stress or in crisis including emotional support, referrals to legal, health, and community resources, and counseling. Also provides language training and adjustment courses for newly arrived women from the mainland.
A community-based group that promotes better protection of human rights in Hong Kong through legislative advocacy, outreach to international human rights mechanisms, and public education campaigns.
Politics, History, Culture
The Dynamics of Social Movements in Hong Kong
Chiu, Stephen W.K. and Tai-lok Liu (Eds.) (2000)
A collection of essays that documents the activism of political groups, students, trade unions, women groups, environmentalists, and community organizers, and examines their impact on the social and political development in Hong Kong society.
Lam, a professor at the University of Hong Kong, challenges a widely-held belief that Hong Kong’s political culture is one of indifference and demonstrates Hong Kong’s signiﬁcant political activism in 13 selected case studies from 1949 through the present.
Underground Front: The Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong [地下陣線：中共在香港的歴史]
Loh, Christine (2010)
A pioneering examination of the role that the Communist Party of China (CPC) has played in Hong Kong since its formation in 1921.
Reflections of Leadership: Tung Chee Hwa and Donald Tsang, 1997–2007
Loh, Christine and Carine Lai (2007)
An analysis of the tenures of Hong Kong Chief Executives Tung Chee Hwa and Donald Tsang, using the major speeches and decisions of the Chief Executives that best embody their values, assumptions, and ideas about government and policy.
Desiring Hong Kong, Consuming South China: Transborder Cultural Politics, 1970–2010
Ma, Eric Kit-wai (2011)
Ma, a journalism professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, examines the cultural relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China over the past 40 years and traces the fading of Hong Kong’s once-inﬂuential position as a cultural role model for mainland cities as China becomes more conﬁdent.
Hong Kong, China: Learning to Belong to a Nation
Matthews, Gordon, EricMa, and Tai-lok Liu (2008)
Explores Hong Kongers’self-identify and concept of national identity and traces the evolution of these concepts since the transfer of Hong Kong sovereignty to China in 1997.
The Fall of Hong Kong: China’s Triumph and Britain’s Betrayal
Roberti, Mark (1996)
Drawing on some 140 interviews, Roberti, a journalist, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the negotiation between the British and Chinese governments for Hong Kong’s retrocession to China in 1997. Instead of democracy which it had pledged to Hong Kong’s people, the British government left behind little that would safeguard their human and political rights.
Using the ﬁrst ever contested election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive in 2007, who was selected by 800 members of an Election Committee drawn from roughly 7 percent of the population, as a case study, the authors examine the history and development of the Election Committee and its ties to the legislatures in Hong Kong and mainland China, and discuss the future of the system.
Law & Legal Development
The July 1 Protest Rally—Interpreting a Historic Event
Cheng, Joseph Y. S. (Ed.) (2005)
A collection of essays that examines the political, economic, and social issues surrounding and following Hong Kong’s massive July 1, 2003, protest against proposed legislation to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law to prohibit secession, sedition, and subversion against the Chinese central government.
Self-Censorship and the Struggle for Press Freedom in Hong Kong
Cheung, Anne S. Y. (2003)
The author, a professor at the University of Hong Kong, argues that self-censorship in Hong Kong is a strategic game of coordination where both ruler and subjects make use of ﬂuid boundaries in local and international politics.
Interpreting Hong Kong’s Basic Law: The Struggle for Coherence
Fu, Hualing, Lison Harris, and Simon N. M. Young (Eds.) (2007)
A collection of essays that examines the inherent conﬂict in an arrangement that gives Hong Kong courts the jurisdiction to interpret the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s constitution, while also conferring the power of its ﬁnal interpretation to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
National Security and Fundamental Freedoms: Hong Kong’s Article 23 Under Scrutiny
Fu, Hualing, Carole J. Petersen, and Simon N. M. Young (Eds.) (2005)
A collection of essays that analyzes the proposed legislation and its implications for civil liberties and the “one country, two systems” model; explains why certain proposals proved so controversial; and offers concrete recommendations on how to improve the proposals before the next legislative exercise.
One Country, Two International Legal Personalities: The Case of Hong Kong
Mushkat, Roda (1997)
The author, a professor at the University of Hong Kong, uses international legal concepts to assess the underpinnings of the “one country, two systems” formula, focusing on Hong Kong’s international legal status and obligations, its jurisdictional competence, the question of human rights, and the relationship between domestic Hong Kong and international law.
One Country, Two Systems in Crisis: Hong Kong’s Transformation since the Handover
Wong, Yiu-chung (Ed.) (2008)
A collection of essays edited by a Lingnan University professor that provides perspectives and arguments on how, since 1997, the Chinese government has so far failed to allow Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy, as originally pledged in the “one country, two systems” policy that would last through June 30, 2047.