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Globalisation and the Governance of Hong Kong - page 9 / 28

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Law, Hong Kong has considerable autonomy from China and maintains its own currency and border control with the mainland. In effect, the only matters left to China are defence and foreign policy. Thus, Hong Kong’s status as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China means that it is ‘semi-autonomous’, in theory at least. As Tang (2000: 5) argues, ‘with the departure of the British, Hong Kong has acquired a higher degree of autonomy constitutionally under Chinese sovereignty than under its previous colonial master’.

Earlier Hong Kong was described as an ‘administrative understanding its governance. Indeed, Hong Kong is regarded fusion between politics and bureaucracy at the centre of government ‘has been conceptualized as an ideal type of

state’, which is the key to as a classic example of the government. Hong Kong's ‘bureaucratic polity’ which

practises the ‘administrative absorption of politics’ before the introduction of the democratic reforms in

(Cheek-Milby 1989: 221). Thus, the mid-1980s, Hong Kong was

labelled an ‘administrative repository of centralised state and administration. The civil

state’.3 power service

This means the in Hong Kong with is the only political

bureaucracy is effectively the no demarcation between politics institution in Hong Kong. Post-

1997, the senior civil service is still participation remains relatively limited, in Hong Kong is perceived as highly

the political executive and the scope for political despite recent democratic reforms. Thus, the state autonomous and aloof from society. On the other

hand, the civil service is also regarded as a ‘powerful but (Lee, cited in Huque et al 1998: 16). Whatever the degree bureaucracy in Hong Kong has considerably more power systems in Western liberal democracies.

conservative force in society’ of autonomy from society, the and status than civil service

The historical reason for Hong Kong’s highly centralised systems was to ensure

that the Governor could exercise control

typical

colonial

government.

Governors

and be fully briefed.

Hong

were

politically

accountable

Kong had a fairly to the appropriate

Secretary of State responsible for colonial legacy of depoliticization, Kong’s bureaucratic polity is the

Hong Kong affairs in London. In addition to the Cooper and Lui (1990: 333) also argue that Hong product of ‘an apathetic political culture’ and ‘the

Chinese tradition of deference to authority’. The civil service effectively constitutes the public sector in Hong Kong.

Under

the policy guidance of a government secretariat, government departments and agencies,

9

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