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Spring 2004 L11 Lecture 11 Governance of the Post-1997 SAR (I) Autonomy, Rule of Law and Freedom (A)Governing Philosophy after 1997 General Strategy Hong Kong’s well-being is closely connected with the well-being of China ( 中國好 , 港好 ; 香港好 , 中國好 ). China must prosper for Hong Kong to prosper, and Hong Kong must prosper to help the development of China. Hong Kong must be prosperous to maintain its special status in China's grand strategy. Stability and prosperity as the paramount concern. Stability and prosperity is valued over other values such as freedom, human rights and democracy. The original idea was that economic prosperity would bring legitimacy and popularity to the government, even without democratic election of the government. Political Strategy Politically the government tried to do as little as possible. Political reform was kept to minimal. The adoption of POAS in 2002 was only a minimal change. The political system designed in the Basic Law, constraints to the Legco, and the fragmentation of the Legco all made sure the executive branch will be dominant in the decision-making process after 1997. Wide appointment powers enabled the CE to appoint political conservatives to major power positions in various commissions and marginalize the democrats. The system also ensured that the Central govt has enough means to re-assert control over Hong Kong should there be major challenges to authority of the SAR government (e.g. riots). There are some political bottom lines (e.g., Taiwan independence, Falun Gong ) that China concerns, which the SAR govt will not allow HK people to touch. HK’s freedom on these issues would be restrained in certain respects. The Local cannot 1
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Spring 2004 L11 challenge the Central—Hong Kong is not going to be a base for subversion, for Falun Gong, for pro-Taiwan-independence people, etc..
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