Political participation of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong: An analytical survey

Kim KWOK, Kam Yee LAW

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

Abstract

The population of Hong Kong (HK) non-Chinese ethnic minorities (EMs) increased from 343,950 (5.12% of the total HK population) in 2001 to 451,183 (6.38%) in 2011. Despite the slight increase in the EM population, the growth rate over the decade was 31.8%. By contrast, the HK Chinese population increased from 6,363,182 (94.87% of the total HK population) in 2001 to 6,620,270 (93.62%) in 2011, indicating a 10-year growth rate of merely 4.02%. The long-term trend shows that the EM population will continue to increase. Non-Chinese ethnic groups have been in Hong Kong for more than 170 years; however, both the colonial and HK Special Administrative Region governments lacked an integration policy for these ethnic groups until approximately a decade ago. The government recognized the adaptation problems of HK ethnic groups and pledged to integrate them into the mainstream society. However, neither the HK Government nor EMs have maximized political participation as an approach for establishing an ideal integration policy. This paper attempts to construct an analytical survey of the political participation of EMs in Hong Kong after the region was handed over to China in 1997. It adopts the theoretical perspectives summarized by Leighley and Vedlitz, including socioeconomic status, psychological resources, social connectedness, group identity/consciousness, and intergroup conflict. Beijing’s promise of high autonomy to the HK Special Administrative Region and the growth of political institutions and activities since 1997 have prompted this paper to address a key question regarding EMs; that is, whether EMs enjoy more opportunities and exhibit a stronger motivation for political participation, or they ironically find themselves in a worse situation. A large proportion of EM residents in Hong Kong are foreign domestic helpers who cannot apply for HK permanent residency, and therefore lack the right to participate in political elections. In this context, this paper also seeks to ascertain whether the political participation of EM residents in HK is more inactive than that of EMs with permanent residency. Moreover, this paper examines the future of EMs’ political participation in Hong Kong when the region’s party politics becomes further developed, and its engagement with China becomes closer and deeper. Copyright © 2016 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthnic minorities: Perceptions, cultural barriers and health inequalities
EditorsAna PRATT
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Pages117-138
ISBN (Electronic)9781634841924
ISBN (Print)9781634841917, 1634841913
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Citation

Kwok, K., & Law, K.-y. (2016). Political participation of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong: An analytical survey. In A. Pratt (Ed.), Ethnic minorities: Perceptions, cultural barriers and health inequalities (pp. 117-138). New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

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