Essence of the Hong Kong Incident: Collision of the Chinese Economic and Political Values
[Sejong Policy Brief] No.2019-14
Kim Ki-soo (Senior Research Fellow)
○ On March 29, the Hong Kong government proposed the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill (also known as Hong Kong’s Extradition Act of 2019), which triggered massive demonstrations. In recognition of Xi Jinping leadership’s empowerment, threat perception of the possibility of the Chinese government to enforce Hong Kong’s polity into a one-party system similar to that of China spread across the globe, unfolding a series of unprecedented democratization movement in Hong Kong.
○ Key agenda of this Hong Kong incident still remains as the administration’s decision of implementing a direct election system, the focal point of One Country Two Systems (一國兩制) and “Hong Kong ruled by Hong Kong people (港人治港).”
○ However, China is reluctant to accept such system as it faces the reality that Hong Kong’s political autonomy will eventually impact China’s political economic order, leaving the central government difficult to handle the situation.
○ Nevertheless, China’s use of military force is nearly impossible as unlike in the past, Hong Kong’s economic leverage in the international society has increased significantly and other Western countires including the U.S. show high interest in this incident.
○ Ultimately, the essence of Hong Kong incident can be interpreted as collision of Chinese economic and political values. Conflict in and outside of Hong Kong is likely to continue as China struggles to find an optimal solution, and its political and economic impact is very likely to reach the mainland.
※ Translator’s note: This is a summarized unofficial translation of the original paper which was written in Korean. All references should be made to the original paper.
※ This article is written based on the author’s personal opinions and does not reflect the views of the Sejong Institute.