This report looks at the political future of Hong Kong after the 2014 “Umbrella Revolution” protests. Hong Kong’s political future is an important and timely issue because its stability and the mainland’s attitude towards Hong Kong will have implications for the region given Hong Kong’s close economic and social ties with regional countries. Through an examination of primary and secondary documents, and six personal interviews in Hong Kong, several key observations arose. First, there are increased attempts, post-2014 protests, by the Chinese government to exert greater control in the fields of academia, media, civil society and politics. These have not been completely successful due to (i) an anti-establishment and critical segment of the electorate; and (ii) institutionalised ideals of transparency, liberty and openness. Additionally, one can draw three key conclusions from this report. First, Hong Kong remains an economically attractive place to do business and to work in. It will also retain its importance to mainland China despite some proclamations to the contrary. Second, while mainland China will no doubt attempt to exert greater control and influence over Hong Kong, it will face some difficulties especially in areas that are traditionally and fiercely independent. Third, there is likely to be greater divisiveness not only between locals and mainland Chinese in Hong Kong, but also within Hong Kong‘s society itself. In sum, the political future of Hong Kong looks uncertain and while there seems to be no real opening for any sort of compromise between the pro-establishment and the pro-democracy camps—the status quo will more or less remain.
About the Author
Dylan Loh Ming Hui is a PhD candidate at the Politics and International Studies department at the University of Cambridge and is a member of the Public Policy and Global Affairs division at the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University. He was previously a research analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies where he received funding from the China Programme for this policy report.
East Asia and Asia Pacific / General / Policy Reports
Last updated on 10/12/2015