The role of opposition parties in crisis management in Hong Kong after the handover

  • Kong Nam Yau

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The outbreak of crisis exposes the weakness of the incumbent government. It brings the opposition two opportunities to challenge the incumbent. First, the opposition, through providing a timely and appropriate response to crisis within a limited time, challenges the incumbent's legitimacy by exposing its underperformance and maladministration. Second, crisis brings change to existing policy, providing another opportunity for the opposition to channel its policy advocacy into real policy. Against this background, this thesis examines how the opposition in Hong Kong responds to and manipulates crises to gain issue ownership and electoral advantage. Through such an examination, one can observe the dynamics between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, the opposition and the pro-government establishment camp. Through examining 19 crises selected throughout the period from 1998 to 2017, i.e., the beginning of the first LegCo session to the end of Leung Chun-ying's term, this thesis contributes to the literature in two ways. It offers a new framework for studying factional politics. The thesis regards the pan-democrats as a whole as one quasi-political party, and each member party constituent of the pan-democrats is viewed as a faction. The analysis applies a new model combining competition and cooperation to study the dynamics within the pan-democrats. The pan-democrats both cooperate to confront the HKSAR Government and its faithful ally and compete among themselves for vote share. This thesis also offers a new perspective for understanding Hong Kong politics, as the existing literature on Hong Kong politics mainly focuses on the constitutional disputes between the HKSAR Government, pan-democrats and the pro-establishment. One can study the dynamics between these three actors in the policy-making process under the context of Hong Kong politics, which has been little discussed in the existing literature.

Date of Award18 Mar 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorYi KANG (Supervisor)

User-Defined Keywords

  • 1997-
  • China
  • Crisis management in government
  • Hong Kong (China)
  • Hong Kong
  • Opposition (Political science)
  • Political parties
  • Politics and government

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