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The disarticulation of Hong Kong's Post-handover political system

Scott, I. (2000) The disarticulation of Hong Kong's Post-handover political system. The China Journal, 43 . pp. 29-53.

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One of the consequences of the constitutional disagreements in Hong Kong during the past decade is that the institutional components of the post-handover political system have become disarticulated. In the literal sense of that word, they are "separate at the joints": the relationships between the executive, the legislature and the bureaucracy today are uncoordinated, poorly developed, fractious and sometimes dysfunctional. Even in systems where the separation of powers has been elevated to the status of a constitutional channels of communication has proved necessary for the effective operation of the polity. In Hong Kong, with a system which is neither parliamentary fish nor presedential fowl, the executive, the bureaucracy and the legislature (which is divided within itself) each pursue their own agendas, punctuated by occasional skirmishes on the boundaries of their domains and by subterranean campaigns to extend their jurisdictions. The reasons for this, i suggest, lie in the factors behind the formal power arrangements embedded in the Basic Law on the one hand, and the domestic politics of the transition on the other, both of which left an indelible and incompatible imprint on the ways in which these institutions actually work. This has an important constraining effect on the real powers of both the political executive and the legislature, with consequent implications for post-handover politics and the coherence and implementation of public policy.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
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