The decision by China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) to create new national security legislation for Hong Kong has seen criticism erupt in parts of the Hong Kong community and internationally. The US has raised the stakes in response, saying it will no longer treat Hong Kong as ‘autonomous’.
Many critics have attacked the process set out by Beijing, arguing that any national security legislation should be considered by Hong Kong’s legislature. That was indeed the original intention when the Basic Law was promulgated in 1990 but, since an aborted attempt to introduce legislation in 2003 and consistent lobbying against reviving it, Beijing seems to have concluded an alternative approach is needed.… Seguir leyendo »
In the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, there was much discussion about whether leaving the EU would push the UK towards China as the major source of growth in the global economy and a seemingly promising source of new inward investment.
Now that Brexit day has finally arrived, that question remains on the agenda, but in a somewhat different form. Much has happened to affect the UK’s China policy since June 2016, and – as the Huawei/5G decision shows – it may be factors other than Brexit which do most to shape it over the coming years.
The big development has been the clear emergence since 2017 of US–China strategic rivalry.… Seguir leyendo »
Hong Kong’s summer has taken another turn for the worse. While the vast majority of protestors have been peaceful, violence and vandalism have now become the norm — and for some the goal. Clashes with the police have continually escalated. Amid such chaos, is there a way forward for Hong Kong?
The movement has ventured far beyond the original catalyst, the government’s extradition bill, with increasingly radical dynamics abetted by inept government responses. Social media has shaped narratives which allow groups (more than individuals) to create their own reality. De-escalation is sorely needed, but elusive.
Politically speaking, the protestors have achieved a lot.… Seguir leyendo »
US President Donald Trump looks to have China on the agenda for his forthcoming visit to London. The top priority for Washington – already raised by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his visit in May – is to persuade the British government not to allow Chinese company Huawei to be part of the construction of the United Kingdom’s 5G network.
This is a complex technical issue for the UK government to consider. The issue is not just 5G, though. Pressure from the United States comes as part of an emerging China policy of intense strategic rivalry on the part of Washington.… Seguir leyendo »
On 23 September the first high-speed trains will depart a gleaming new station in Hong Kong for cities across the rest of China. Later in the year a new bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macao and Zhuhai (on the western bank of the Pearl River) is due to open to traffic. These expensive and somewhat controversial projects mark the latest infrastructure links between Hong Kong and its hinterland.
They come at a time when growing attention is being paid to the Greater Bay Area, a Chinese government plan to develop further a massive urban cluster in southern China, including Hong Kong, Macao and the nine most developed cities in the adjacent Guangdong province.… Seguir leyendo »
Among the many issues at play in the ongoing economic and trade tensions between the US and China are questions of technological capability and innovation.
Two of the main complaints in the US Section 301 report were that American companies have been forced to transfer technology to China and been the subject of cyber espionage. The presentation of the issues in this report has been disputed, but behind it lies concern in the US that Chinese innovative and technological capability is catching up with that in the US, thanks partly to the support of state policies set out in the Made in China 2025 initiative.… Seguir leyendo »
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to China last week brought to the fore the difficulties of handling relations with China, as she tried to strike a decidedly uneasy balance between trade and investment, culture and education, human rights and geopolitics.
This difficulty was encapsulated in the debate over whether the prime minister would ‘endorse’ Chinese president Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative.
On the face of it, the desire to promote peace and mutual benefit, and the opportunity for enhanced connectivity in trade and culture across Asia, Africa and Europe on this ‘new Silk Road’ is difficult not to endorse.… Seguir leyendo »
Twenty years after the handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese sovereignty, the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement – the main aim of which was to guarantee the continuity of Hong Kong’s open society and way of life – can be said to have worked well. Street protests remain a regular feature of Hong Kong’s political culture. Freedom of information and expression are alive and well. Hong Kong retains its ‘capitalist way of life’, its legal system based on common law and independent judiciary, and its status as an international financial centre. As a result the city remains one of the most open economies across Asia, with robust institutions and transparency which are hard to find anywhere else in the region.… Seguir leyendo »
Carrie Lam, formerly number two in the Hong Kong government, was selected as the Special Administrative Region’s new chief executive on 26 March. What does the process and her selection say about Hong Kong’s political future?
- Elections for Hong Kong’s top job are still within Beijing’s control. Due to the failure of political reform proposals in 2015, Lam was elected on the basis of 777 votes from the 1,194 members of the Chief Executive Election Committee. This ‘small-circle’ process was essentially the same as that used since 1997 (the only change being the expansion of the committee from its initial size of 800).
… Seguir leyendo »
It has been a tumultuous recent period in Hong Kong politics. Following the 79-day ‘occupy’ movement in autumn 2014 and the subsequent rejection of a political reform package in 2015, Sunday’s elections for Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) represented an important moment for the territory. Tensions have been growing between Hong Kong and both the central government in Beijing and mainland Chinese economic and social influence in Hong Kong.
Understanding Hong Kong’s complex electoral system is important to interpreting the results. Half of LegCo’s 70 seats come from geographical constituencies, with the other 35 from functional constituencies: 30 of these cover professional, social, and labour groups (for a list see here) with relatively small electorates, and five are selected by the rest of the electorate from district councilors using a list system with proportional representation.… Seguir leyendo »
While the general assumption has been that, following the vote to leave the EU, UK relations with China could be even more important than before the referendum, the early indications from the new British government are mixed.
Partly because of preparations for China’s hosting of the G20 in September, the chancellor and trade minister have both already visited China since the referendum, and talked up the UK as a place that remains open for business. Chinese businesses will be pragmatic and continue to invest in the UK where this makes sense, though the immediate attraction is enhanced by cheap assets due to the major decline in sterling.… Seguir leyendo »
The world has been watching events unfold in Hong Kong in recent weeks, after tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets to occupy key locations in the heart of this financial hub.
Much of the international reaction has been supportive of the protesters’ aims. Foreign governments, meanwhile, have been working out what to say publicly.
They should comment. Hong Kong is a global city, whose political development has wider implications, not least for international economic and commercial interests in Asia and beyond.
But comments by some politicians and media commentators in recent weeks demonstrated a worrying lack of understanding of the relevant historical agreements and Hong Kong’s status as a Chinese territory — albeit with significant autonomy.… Seguir leyendo »