Introduction to Sociology and Political Sciences Essay

Relationship Between China and Hong Kong

Introduction to Sociology and Political Sciences
Mid-term paper
Student ID: 81200158
Word count: 4337 words

Discuss the relationship between Hong Kong and mainland using concepts introduced in this course.
Hong Kong, located at the southern coastal of China, fully shows the diversification of
culture, with a mix characteristics of different backgrounds. Hong Kong is currently under
the rule of the PRC as a special administrative region, with the practice of ‘One country,
two system’. Hong Kong exercises capitalism under the rule of the British government and
thus continues its practice after the handover. Hong Kong is closely located to mainland,
showing her essential role in the economic coordination. The number of cross-boundaries
cooperation has been increasing steady, and today, Hong Kong and mainland develops an
inseparable relationship in terms of political, economical and social aspect.

I.Political Aspect

One Country, Two Systems
Article 23
Freedom of Speech, Expression and Press

II.Economical Aspect
Provide Professional Financial Services
Mainland as the Provider of Cheap Labor and Resources
Logistics and Importance in Re-export
Competition with Shanghai

III.Social Aspect
Mainland-Hong Kong conflicts
Parallel Imports Activities
Mainland Immigrants
Mainland Mothers Giving Birth in Hong Kong
Cross-boundary School Kids
Overheating in Property Market

Identity Problems

Chinese Identity and Hong Kong Identity

Cultural Similarities

I.Political Aspect
One Country, Two Systems
The idea of ‘One country, two systems’ was first proposed by Deng Xiao-ping in 1978, the
leader of the Chinese Communist Party at that time. As Hong Kong was ruled with the
capitalist system under the rule of the British government, while Mainland China being
ruled with the socialist system. Before the handover, rumor spark off saying Hong Kong was
expected to operate under socialist system, thus lead to social unrest, as the public was
afraid to lose their private property rights. As to settle the rumor, the Chinese
Communist Party proposed the ‘One country, two systems’, which was expected that the idea
could efficiently minimized the difference in political system after the handover.

Chapter 1, Article 5 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, the constitutional document of the Hong
Kong Special Administrative Region, reads ‘The socialist system and policies shall not be
practiced in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist
system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years. (i.e. 2047)’

The establishment of the special administrative region is authorized by the Article 31 of
the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, which states that the State may
establish SARs when necessary, and that the systems to be instituted in them shall be
specific conditions. After the handover on 1 July 1997, the HKSAR was formally
established, with her sovereignty returned to the Mainland. Since then, Hong Kong has been
given high degree of autonomy, where she will be responsible for her domestic affairs,
including judiciary and courts of last resort, immigration and customs, public finance,
currencies and extradition. However, diplomatic relations and national defense are the
responsibility of the Central People’s Government in Beijing.

Though the system was said to ensure Hong Kong could enjoy her autonomy, it was believed
that the Central government in Beijing has been eventually spreading her power to
interfere the politics in Hong Kong trough the leftist. It was generally believed that
Hong Kong no longer enjoys her autonomy as she used to be, while more restriction has been
posted on different institutions. For instance, the proposals in Article 23 of Basic Law,
Hong Kong 818 incident and the vote rigging issue in the District Council elections.

Article 23
The proposals in Article 23 of the Basic Law in 2003 have been withdrawn due to mass
opposition. The Article is the basis of a security law proposed by the HKSAR government,

reads ‘The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit
any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s
Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or
bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political
organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political
organizations or bodies.’ In other words, the government plans to enact laws to protect
her national security, which was considered as a threat that invading the public’s right.

In mid 2002, the Vice Premier of the State Council expressed Beijing’s desire for Hong
Kong to pass the proposals as soon as possible. Then, the Tung Chee-hwa, the Chief
Executive of Hong Kong began the drafting of the article, and passed it to the legislative

Since then, there were lots of conspiracy theory occurred, saying that Tung acted in
request of the Central government, which he was forced to do so, as Tung’s family was
running a shipping conglomerate Orient Oversea, which owes about US$110 million debt to
the PRC in the 1980s. And Tung’s family business was still greatly affected by the
decision of the central government.

Since Tung has proposed his draft, there was a huge controversy over his proposal, which
raised the public concerns. It was worried that the article violates The Johannesburg
Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, Freedom
of Expression and Access to Information. The public feared that the anti-subversion bill
would deprive the civil liberties of Hong Kong citizens.

First, the PRC could ban any branch of organizations that disfavor her interests, and the
Hong Kong government does not have to conduct any independent investigation. Second, the
proposed enactments of the article restricted the rights of the citizens to monitor the
government, as any critical comments violating the interest of the government could be
arrested. Third, according to the proposed enactment, police are allowed to enter ones
residential unit and arrest people at any time, even without any courts warrants or
evidence. The public worried that police may easily abuse power, and violate the citizens’
human rights.

Fourth, the article violates the freedom of expression, speech and press. As any critical
arguments can be regarded as illegal and disturbing the stability of the country. Hence,
no matter those comments are expressed in which form, they can be consider as illegal and
may even result in a life term in prison.

After a huge controversy over the Article 23 of the Basic Law, on 1 July 2003, an
estimated 700,000 people, out of the total population of 6,730,800 held a large
demonstration against the Article 23. It was the second large demonstration in the history
of Hong Kong, which slightly behind the supporting protest of the 1989 Tiananmen Square
protest. Facing the overwhelming opposition in both the international and local mass
media, the HKSAR government has finally announced that the bill was then shelved

Freedom of Speech, Expression and Press
Due to the ideological difference between mainland and Hong Kong, Hong Kong retained the
common law in 1997 to ensure Hong Kong could enjoy her freedom of Speech, Press, Assembly
and Expression. Chapter 1, Article 8 of the Hong Kong Basic Law reads, ‘The laws
previously in force in Hong Kong, that is, the common law, rules of equity, ordinances,
subordinate legislation and customary law shall be maintained, except for any that
contravene this Law, and subject to any amendment by the legislature of the Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region.’

Freedom of speech is undoubtedly an extremely important value in Hong Kong. However, it
was believed the there was an erosion of freedom of speech in Hong Kong. In the following,
I will discuss some cases that have been generally considered as erosion in freedom of

In May 2004, Albert Cheng and Raymond Wong Yuk-man, both being considered as the most
critical talk-show hosts of a controversial radio show named ‘Teacup in a Storm’ of
Commercial Radio. Expressed their critical views in the suffocating political climate in
Hong Kong, also criticizing the Hong Kong government and the Central Authorities. Ten days
later, both of the hosts had received threats on what they have said, and the show was
forced to step down.

Later in 9th July 2004, Spike Magazine reported that there was evidence showing the
involvement of the central government in influencing Cheng’s and Wong’s decision to step
down, which the Spike Magazine has given the English translation rights to the Apple
Daily, evidence shows, “A prominent businessman with major entertainment industry
interests and triad links was responsible for the threats delivered to Albert Cheng and
Raymond Wong Yuk-man…he told the hosts that he was passing on a message from a senior
official in China’s State Security Bureau…this official was extremely unhappy about what
the hosts were doing in their radio shows.” The evidence of the newspaper makes the pubic

worried that the political interference of the PRC in Hong Kong would eventually results
in an erosion of freedom of speech. Some scholars believe that even though the views and
comments of the two hosts might be controversial, but the freedom of speech obligated Hong
Kong citizens to have the rights to express their views freely, and not restricted by any
political powers. Hence, their voice should be allowed to broadcast, but not being forced
to step down. Indeed, this kind of political interferences from the PRC has led to certain
form of self- censorship. Which makes the mass media threatened of being criticized by the
PRC. Thus, mass media may start to hide the negative information that will affect the
credibility of the PRC, which means the mass media may eventually lose its function in
monitoring the operation of the government. It has been worrying that the freedom of
speech would disappear one day.  II.Economical Aspect

Hong Kong relies heavily on foreign trade and investment. Among its trading partners, the
mainland of China has been one of Hong Kong’s most important. Hong Kong has had a close
economic relationship with the mainland, particularly after the mainland adopted an open
door policy in 1978. This is mainly because of Hong Kong’s favorable geographical location
in southern China and its historical connection with the mainland.

Provide Professional Financial Services

Financial services are one of the Hong Kong’s four pillar industries. For many years, Hong
Kong has been the main provider in providing professional financial services to the
Mainland companies. Including commercial translation, professional accounting,
professional financing, clearing and so on. In year 2009, exports of financial services
contribute HK$84.2 billion to the GDP, which takes up 13% of the exports of services.

Since the 1997 handover, Hong Kong’s economy has become even more integrated with that of
the mainland. In 29 June2003, the Central Government and the Hong Kong Government signed
the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). Since then, a
number of supplements to CEPA have been signed. Under CEPA, the mainland gives Hog Kong
companies more preferential treatment than what it had promised upon its entry into WTO.
The areas of these preferential treatments include trade in goods, trade in services, and
trade and investment facilitation. To sum up, the CEPA is a win-win agreement for all
parties involved. It is mutually beneficial to both the mainland of China and Hong Kong.
For Hong Kong, its business can gain greater access to the mainland market. For the
mainland, Hong Kong may serve as a ‘springboard’ for mainland enterprises to reach out to
the global market and for accelerating the mainland’s full integration with the world

Mainland as the Provider of Cheap Labor and Resources
Due to the increasing production cost in manufacturing in Hong Kong, many manufacturers
have relocated their factories to the mainland of China since the late 1970s. Mainland has
provided a great number of cheap labor and resources, which greatly help reducing the cost
of production. Providing opportunities for Hong Kong investors to expand their business to
a greater market. Which makes China the ‘world’s factory’.

Logistics and Importance in Re-export
With lower labor and land costs, the mainland has a comparative advantage in producing
manufactured products and thus has a high demand on the re-export services. Hong Kong then
acts as an entrepot for the mainland. Hong Kong channeled raw materials from the rest of
the world to the mainland for further processing, and then re-exports the processed goods
to other economics. The relocation of the Hong Kong manufacturer base to the mainland of
China further increases our re-export to and from the mainland and decreases our domestic
exports (HK$57.7 Billion) was much smaller than the value of out re-exports (HK$2,411.3
billion) in 2009.

Competition with Shanghai
Hong Kong and Shanghai have been the two largest financial centers in China. The growth of
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