The political predicament of the pan-democrats in Hong Kong under Chinese rule: Being victims or beneficiaries?

Kwun Sun LAU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to make sense of the slow and frustrating process of democratization in Hong Kong through understanding the pan-democrats’ struggle for realizing universal suffrage. It aims to offer possible explanations for the current political impasse between Hong Kong and mainland China over the issue of universal suffrage. Design/methodology/approach: This paper seeks to construct a triangular model of institutional constraint, clashing visions of democracy and mutual political distrust for understanding the pan-democrats’ struggle for realizing universal suffrage in Hong Kong since the 1980s, the nature of current political predicament they found themselves in and the current political impasse between the pan-democrats and Beijing. Findings: The dilemma facing Hong Kong’s pan-democrats and Beijing’s leadership is attributed to the institutional constraints of Basic Law on Hong Kong’s system of governance, the clashing visions of Beijing-led Chinese-style democracy and Western-style liberal democracy as advocated by the pan-democrats and the mutual political distrust between the two parties. The findings suggest that this triangular model will remain relevant in understanding the political predicament of the pan-democrats under Chinese rule and the political impasse between Hong Kong and mainland China over universal suffrage for the coming decades. Originality/value: This paper provides a new interpretation of the current political impasse between Hong Kong and mainland China over the issue of universal suffrage. It offers new insights into the nature of current political predicament the pan-democrats found themselves in amidst their fight for realizing universal suffrage since the 1980s by constructing a triangular model of institutional constraints, clashing visions of democracy and mutual political distrust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-510
Number of pages13
JournalAsian Education and Development Studies
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Basic Law
  • Chinese-style democracy
  • Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong–China relations
  • Pan-democrats
  • Universal suffrage

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