Decolonization? What decolonization?

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This paper is an attempt to examine the gaps between China’s notion of ‘One Country Two systems’ and Hong Kong people’s expectation of living in a special administrative region (SAR) after returning to China. It is argued that these gaps are becoming more apparent when the balance of power between China and Hong Kong has shifted towards the former’s favour. The post-colonial situation of Hong Kong is very different from what it was once anticipated during the Sino-British Negotiations over Hong Kong’s political future and the extended processes of drafting the Basic Law. While Hong Kong is able to retain its free-market capitalist economy, it soon finds itself increasingly being shaped by the flows of capital (from investments in business and property to IPO activity) from the Mainland. At the same time, though the SAR is probably the most autonomous local administrative unit within China, people in the SAR see it differently. Clash between Hong Kong and Beijing over constitutional changes is probably the most obvious example of political difference between the central government and its SAR. And then, there are tensions and conflicts arising from regional integration, with inbound tourism from the Mainland being a source of growing uneasiness shared by people of different social background. Some suggest that Hong Kong has never seriously gone through a decolonization process, nor has it developed a new sense of autonomy. Thus, it is not quite prepared for the harsh reality of the need to encounter a new colonizer. But is it just a question of incomplete decolonization? Or rather it is a matter inherent in the political compromise made in the 1980s. Hong Kong and its people do not seem to have really thought over how to live under a central government after the return to China.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


Lui, T.-L. (2015, June). Decolonization? What decolonization?. Paper presented at The Conference on Siting Postcoloniality: Colloquium and workshop, The University of Hong Kong, China.


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