Kong’s sovereign power.
The bureaucracy became more self-conscious of its role and
performance as 1997 drew closer. government has been suffering, to
Cheung (1992: 137) explains ‘since the 1980s, the increasing extent, political stress and a legitimacy
This has lead to a decline of which has ultimately weakened to the bureaucracy as a strategy to
authority and the relative autonomy of the government, state power. Thus public sector reform had some appeal cope with an increasingly uncertain environment.
Chow (1992: 1654) also believed that ‘1997 phobia’ meant that more civil servants were less concerned with ‘excellence’ and he found ‘the prevalence of the norm
of mediocrity’. Therefore, Lau
Political uncertainty thus undermined the motivation of civil (1997: 43) regarded attempts to improve the performance of
servants. the civil
service as part of Kong government since the reversal
the overall aim in its last years’. of sovereignty,
‘to enhance the autonomy and authority of the Hong The former Secretary of the Civil Service argues that the public now has higher expectations of the civil
service, and On the other is a general
that the civil service is now an interactive partner with China (Lam, 1999). hand, public esteem of the civil service is now declining, and although there perception that service delivery has improved overall, the civil service is still
perceived as being poor at ‘crisis management’. However, it impact of the reunification on public administration as preserved the structure of the civil service.
appears easy to overplay the the Basic Law essentially
In addition, pressure from a rising population, the increasing proportion of elderly citizens and a deteriorating environment all has potential consequences for governance in Hong Kong. Other pressures include plans to develop large-scale infrastructural facilities, such as the Port and Airport Development Strategy. The South China Morning Post (1997) argued that it was public housing, welfare, home ownership and environmental concerns that are likely to be the ‘most pressing’ issues facing the Government. Moreover, the recent ‘Right of Abode’ issue whereby the children of Hong Kong residents in mainland China ay have the right to live in Hong Kong under the Basic Law
will have a considerable impact on Chinese emigrate to Hong Kong.
politics should upwards of a million issue began to test the relationship
Beijing and Hong Kong from 1999
See Lachman et al (1994: 46) for full details.