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
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
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’.
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
extent of the of the
In the transition to independence,
‘localization’ is usually a parallel development to
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