Governance in Hong Kong: In search of identity, legitimacy and trust

Bing Leung Anthony CHEUNG

Research output: Book/ReportBooks


Since 1997, Hong Kong has been suffering from one crisis after another. The infallibility of the administrative state, long held to be responsible for its success story, has by now been largely eroded. Hong Kong has come to a stage where a political culture of distrust is being reinforced at a time when political trust is much needed for different institutions to cooperate, and to enable the government to govern effectively and lead society in major policy innovations and reforms. This lecture reviews Hong Kong’s governance within the context of its political trajectory to become part of China, and diagnoses the nature of the current political quagmire, major constraints and dilemmas, as well as institutional setbacks and failures, due to the inability to re-establish a new logic of governance and political ethos as the pre-existing political order continues to be eroded, whether by design or by circumstances. Strong governance is difficult to pursue in a habitat of distrust. Institutional reforms and policy changes are easily challenged because government lacks legitimacy. Incessant distrust will ultimately hamper performance because the necessary capacity to take risk and make innovations in order to rise to new challenges is absent. How to rebuild trust in the current period of political quagmire, to link up the political and policy worlds, is the most daunting task facing Hong Kong. Copyright © 2009 The Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherThe Hong Kong Institute of Education
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Cheung, A. B. L. (2009). Governance in Hong Kong: In search of identity, legitimacy and trust. Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Institute of Education.


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