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industries. Overall, the belief in the ability of the free market to deliver economic prosperity is deeply entrenched in Hong Kong society.

The Colonial Legacy

As a former British colony, British institutions were inevitably imposed on Hong Kong, but as Harris (1988: 4) observes, a number of significant modifications were made, ‘in

particular developing the apparatus fairly typical colonial government.

of the administrative state’. In this respect, it was A dysfunction of this colonial imprint is that

a it

concentrates continuation

functions and power into the of a ‘bureaucratic culture of

hands of civil servants which has ensured the elitism and even arrogance at the expense of

public inside

accountability and the bureaucracy

responsiveness’ (Chan 1997: 570). Lui there was a ‘collective organizational

(1994: 26) argues that mentality which (was)

ultimately supportive of the colonial cause’.

The hierarchical nature of

reinforced a degree of administration. Lui (1994:

authoritarian control, 18) adds that ‘one of

which was fundamental the distinguishing features

the government to any colonial of Hong Kong,

arising ad hoc

from the colonial solutions than on a

nature of the commitment to

regime, is that achieving some

its governance is long-term ideals’.

founded

more

on

With the transition of Hong Kong from a British colony to a SAR of China still very recent, the colonial influence remains powerful and preserved in the Basic Law.

According to Hook (1997: 566) the crucial question for the British legacy ‘was the to which there could be continuity at the top of the civil service’. In the event, most

top civil servants were reappointed.

In the short

term

at

least,

the

preservation

extent of the of the

colonial

system

was

congenial

to

China’s

interests.

Indigenization

In the transition to independence,

‘localization’ is usually a parallel development to

decolonization.

Although

Hong

Kong

did

not

gain

independence,

‘localization’

has

long

been on the agenda of the Hong Kong government, although anticipation of greater impetus. The reality was that up until the 1980s, the domination by the civil service system resulted in limited promotion opportunities for the

1997 gave it expatriates of local Chinese

16

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