Publication Date

April 2017

Advisor(s)

Mary Alice Haddad

Major

Government, College of Social Studies

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Hong Kong has been under British rule for more than a century and this fact has shaped Hong Kong in profound ways. By 1997, when China regained sovereignty over Hong Kong, the city had already evolved into a leading financial center and sprawling metropolis. When the handover to China was negotiated, the Chinese government promised Hong Kong a model of “One Country, Two Systems,” which stipulated that Hong Kong’s political, economic, and legal systems would remain unchanged for at least 50 years. Since Hong Kong’s return to China, their relationship has largely been characterized as an experiment by both Hong Kong and China of each other’s limits and boundaries. However, in recent years there has been increasing interference from the active Mainland Chinese government. This mounting encroachment fuels an internal debate occurring within Hong Kong, whether Hong Kong should strive toward “One Country” or “Two Systems.” An analysis of Hong Kong’s current state of affairs shows that it is torn between the “One Country, Two Systems” model; opting for a “One Country” economic model but a “Two Systems” political stance. On one hand there are indications of Hong Kong giving into greater integration with Mainland China, yet others demonstrate Hong Kong pushing back and embracing its own “unique identity.” In 2047, the 50 years promised to Hong Kong under the “One Country, Two Systems” will be over. Although there are no clear indications as to whether Hong Kong will fully embrace the “One Country” model or if Hong Kong will be able retain its “Two Systems” in 2047, we are already seeing the game being played out.

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