Eric Final Research Paper by HC120913153719


									Name:     Wong Kwok Chun, Eric(2002420565)

Course:   HIST2074 Historical Studies Using Computer

Lecturer: Dr. T.A. Stanley

 Final Research Paper Title:

     Chris Patten’s Constitutional
                Reform Package:
Implication for Hong Kong Political

Introduction                                                     p.3

Political System of Hong Kong before 1992                        p.5

Political Reform of Patten: Constitutional Package                p.7

Antagonism between two sovereign powers: Britain and China p.12

Antagonism between China and the democrats in Hong Kong         p.21

Emergence of adversarial politics in Hong Kong: democrats vs.
pro-China politicians and businessmen                           p.28

Conclusion                                                      p.34

Appendix                                                        p.35

Bibliography                                                    p.37

         Political reform ran in parallel with the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong

from Britain and China in 1997. Although the two sovereign powers had agreed, in

the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that the principle of ‘one country, two system’

and ‘high degree of autonomy’ would be practiced in the territory, they had different

expectations relating to the political development of Hong Kong. Britain had

introduced ‘piecemeal changes to the system of government’1in Hong Kong since

1984 such as the indirect and direct election in 1985 and 1991 respectively. Some

members in Legislative Council (Legco) were elected either through functional

constituencies or through geographical one.

         Yet, since the arrival of new Governor of Hong Kong in July 1992, Britain,

under the leadership of John Major, had initiated major reforms in the government

system of the colony. The political reform were first announced in the form of

‘package’ by the Governor, Chris Patten, in his maiden policy speech at the opening

session of Legco in October 1992. The subsequent controversies and

misunderstandings over the reform tended to intensify the contradiction and hatred

among the political actors (including the British government, the Chinese government,

businessmen, pro-democrats and pro-Beijing politicians). It seemed that ‘democracy

became a salient issues that threatened to polarize the Hong Kong polity during the

final years of British rule on the colony [from 1992 to1997]’2.

       The aim of this paper is to analyze the dilemma of political reform during the

transitional period, using Governor Patten’s constitutional package as the basis for

    Sida Michael, Hong Kong Towards 1997, (Lincoln, 1994), p.273
    Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong, (London, 1998), p.106

discussion. So, this paper is intended to deal with two central questions: (i) What are

the views and responses of various political towards the package? (ii) In what ways

did the reform package intensify antagonism among these political actors during

transitional period? It is hoped that a clear answer can be provided through brief

introduction of Patten’s reform package contact, followed by the analysis of different

views and contradictions among the political actors. In this way, it greatly helps to

explain how the reform package adversely affected political development of Hong

Kong during transitional period.

Political system of Hong Kong before 1992
        Before going to the central body of this paper, it is essential to know briefly

about the political system of Hong Kong before 1992. This is because it can provide

us some background information to explain the rationale of different views among the

political actors of Hong Kong over the reform package.

A. Great political power of Governor

      As Hong Kong became British colony, Hong Kong was administered by a

Governor and an Executive (Exco) and Legislative Council (Legco), each nominated

by the Governor. He was also the head of both Exco and Legco. The majority of their

members were drawn from official position. The Exco is the decision-making body

while the Legco passed laws and authorized public expenditure. So, the Governor had

great individual power and ‘the Hong Kong colonial government was traditionally

authoritarian in nature’3. The only form of control on him was the possibility of

people appealing to the Secretary of State in London.

B. Executive-led Government

      The members of Exco and Legco consisted of official members consisting of the

Chief Secretary, Financial Secretary and Attorney General. Yet, ‘indicative of the

importance of business by Hong Kong government’4, the Governors also appointed

non-government appointees as member of both Councils. As more Chinese merchants

got rich and became powerful, the Governors also appointed them as member of both

Councils. In order to pass the policies more easily, it became a practice that many

appointees were the members of both Exco and Legco. The Governors were used to

    Ibid, p.13
    Ibid, p.15

appoint the legislators as the members of Executive Council. Yet, it would easily turn

the Exco into a ‘mini Legislative Council’5

      As such, political debates were transferred from open forum of the Legco to the

closed meetings of Exco. Consequently, the degree of openness of decision-making

processes decreased and thus the significance of Legco was decreased. So, the Legco

was always called as ‘rubber stamp’6, working for the Exco. The policies made by

Exco were always easily passed by Legco. Due to such tradition, Hong Kong

government was seen as ‘executive-led government’. The executive branch dominated

the operation of governmental system.


Political reform of Patten: The Constitutional
       This section aims to give a clear and concise picture about the entire reform so

that it would be easier to understand why and how various political groups responded

so differently which is useful to discuss the questions set in the Introduction.

       The overall objective of reform package was to ‘extend democracy while

working within Basic Law’7. The extension of democracy refers to ‘allowing greater

citizen participation in the conduct of Hong Kong’s affairs’8. The Joint Declaration

stated that ‘after the establishment of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

(HKSAR), Hong Kong’s previous capitalist system and lifestyle shall remain

unchanged for 50 years’9. But, Patten regarded democracy as ‘a system that could

assure operation of capitalist economy and a liberal society, thus raising the

confidence of general citizenry and businessmen towards the future HKSAR’10. So,

he believed ‘citizen participation was an important means of protecting the Hong

Kong way of life which was a major concern of British government’11.

     However, Patten conceived that the pace of democratization in Hong Kong was

necessarily constrained in order to achieve the second objective of political reform:

‘ democratization should work within Basic Law’12. In other words, democratization

in Hong Kong was not without limit. Political reform should be compatible with the

   Hong Kong Government, Hong Kong Hansard, 1992-93, (Hong Kong, 1993), p.48
   Ibid, p.38
   Joint Declaration of the government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the government of
People’s Republic of China on the question of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, 1997) p. 3
    Mushkat Miron, Hong Kong: The Challenge of Transformation, (Hong Kong, 1997), p.132
    Ming K Chan, The Challenge of Hong Kong’s Reintegration with China, (Hong Kong, 1998), p.236
    Hong Kong Government, Hong Kong Hansard, 1992-93, p.39

provision which had outlined the overall structure of the HKSAR government. So,

‘the pre-1997 governmental system had to converge with the post-1997 system as

stipulated in the Basic Law for the sake of continuity and stability’13. In actualizing

these objectives, Patten proposed series of reform to strengthen the representative

institutions in Hong Kong and to converge with future governmental system.

       The first aspect of political reform was to ‘ensure that Hong Kong has a vigorous

and effective executive-led government which is properly accountable to the

Legislative Council’14. So, the constitutional packages proposed that there should not

be any overlapping membership between the Executive and Legislative Council. The

Exco, therefore, should be purely an advisory body with no link to or influence on the

Legco. Policies developed by Exco would be explained by the administration to the

Legco. The administration had to further persuade the Legco to adopt such policies.

The Legco was intended to be ‘independent and expected to be an effective check on

the executive branch to prevent the abuse of power and poor administration’15. So,

this separation between two councils removed an important means for the government

to exercise influence on the legislators. Also, while the Governor served as the

president of Legco before 1993, the Legco should elect one of its own members to

that post. In this way, the Legco had ‘full authority to develop its committee system to

carry out legislative and supervisory function’16.

      All these arrangements were aimed at ‘changing the relationship between the

administration and Legco which could be characterized by “accountability” and

     Yahuda Michael, Hong Kong: China’s Challenge, (London, 2001), p.72
     Hong Kong Government, Hong Kong Hansard, 1992-93, p.40
     Ibid, p.42
     Ibid, p.45

“answerability”’17. The meaning of ‘accountability’ was defined in the constitutional

package as ‘creative dialogue between the administration and Legislative Council’18.

Under this new relationship, the administration was required to explain the policy

proposals to Legco and to win the support of members in Legco for adopting the

proposals. So, ‘the Legco was no longer to continue as a junior partner subordinated

to the administration’19. Instead, the Legco was expected to be ‘a representative

institution, conveying the views of society directly to the administration’20

     The second aspect of political reform was to strengthen democracy by

‘developing the representative institutions to the maximum extent within the terms of

Joint Declaration and Basic Law’21. As Patten acknowledged that there were ‘quite a

lot of space, quite a lot of elbow room between the Joint Declaration and Basic Law

What I propose to do is to find all these bits of elbow room for bedding down

democracy or extending it’22. One of the emphasis was the enlargement of electoral

franchise was reduced from 21 to 18 so that more young people could be voters in the

Legco election. A more significant reform was the revision of functional

constituencies of Legco for ‘broader electorate and hence broader base of support’23.

The first revision was that all forms of corporate voting in the existing functional

constituencies should be replaced by individual voters who owned or controlled the

management of corporation. In other words, the principle of ‘one-organization

-one-vote’ was to be replaced which expanded the franchise in the functional

constituencies. In addition, Patten wanted to redefine the nine new functional

   Mushkat Miron, Hong Kong: The Challenge of Transformation, p.146
   Hong Kong Government, Hong Kong Hansard, 1992-93, p.42
   Brown Judith, Hong Kong’s Transition, 1842-1997(New York, 1999), p.115
   S.H Lo, The Politics of Democratization of Hong Kong (London, 1997), p.103
   Hong Kong Government, Hong Kong Hansard, 1992-93, p.44
   Dimbleby Jonathan, The Last Governor: Chris Patten and the Handover of Hong Kong (London,
1997), p.328
   Hong Kong Government, Hong Kong Hansard, 1992-93,p. 46

constituencies so that each would include the entire population working in that sector.

This move would broaden the franchise ‘from few thousand corporate bodies to

around 2.7 million people’24.

     Another emphasis was ‘the increase in direct representation in District Boards at

local level and Legislative Council in central level’25. Patten suggested abolishing all

appointment to the nineteen District Boards so that all their members would be

directly elected. The reform package proposed that the 1995 Election Committee of

the Legco was made ‘genuinely representative of the community’26. According to the

Basic Law, the Election Committee elected ten candidates in Legco in 199527. In

order to increase direct representation of Legco, the electors of Election Committee

should comprise all members of directly elected members of District Boards. So, the

ten Legco members elected by Election Committee were decided by directly elected

members of District Boards which help to enhance direct representation in the Legco.

In other words, under Patten’s plan, all members of Legco would be directly or

indirectly elected by people of Hong Kong in 1995.

     So, the constitutional package proposed by Patten aimed at achieving two

objectives: democracy and convergence. Yet, instead of winning the support of all

political actors, Patten’s reform package triggered off serious debate and even a war

of word which intensified antagonism among them and led to serious political

consequences. In the first place, it aroused antagonism between Chinese government

   Ibid, p.47
   S.H. Lo, The Politics of Democratization of Hong Kong, p.124
   Hong Kong Government, Hong Kong Hansard, 1992-93, p.47
   The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China,
Annex II states the method for the formation of Legislative Council of HKSAR. The first Legislative
Council should be composed of 60 members: 20 from geographical constituencies, 30 from functional
one, and 10 from Election Committee.

and British government. Furthermore, it increased hatred between China and the

democrats in Hong Kong. Finally, it intensified mutual contradictions between liberal

and conservative groups (including the pro-Beijing politicians and business sector)

which resulted in adversarial politics in Hong Kong


A. Antagonism between two sovereign powers:
Britain and China
     The attitude of Chinese government towards constitutional package was

explicitly negative. The Chinese government argued that the package was too radical

as ‘the citizen in Hong Kong have not fully understand and accept democracy’28. She

regarded the stage of democratic development of Hong Kong in early 1990s as ‘young

bud’29—it was fresh and short and should not be excessively promoted. So, the

constitutional package is considered to be disruptive to the political development

which should be incremental and gradual30. China believed that ‘democracy in Hong

Kong is one that advances step by step in an orderly way, proceeds from reality and is

conclusive to maintaining the long term stability, peace and prosperity’31.

There are two reasons to explain why China opposed so greatly against the

constitutional package. First, it was related to the idea of smooth transition. When

Sino-British Joint negotiation on Hong Kong’s future was almost ended, Britain

suggested that the future governor and legislature after 1997 should be

‘democratically elected’32. China also agreed that the legislature ‘shall be constituted

by election’ and ‘the executive authorities shall abide by law and shall be accountable

to the legislature’33. All these were formally stated in the Sino-British Joint

    Law Connie, JLG talks side step reform package: China keeps Patten reform off agenda, South
China Morning Post (Hong Kong), 9 October 1992
    Scott I, Political Change and Crisis of legitimacy in Hong Kong, (Honolulu, 1999) p.145
   Cheung Gary, China Strike Back, Hong Kong Standard (Hong Kong), 10 November 1992. This is
quoted from speech by Mr. Fu Hao at the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress of China
on 7 November 1992. Mr. Fu was the Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of the Standing
   Howe Geoffrey, Conflict of Loyalty, (London, 1994) p. 74
   Joint Declaration of the government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the government of
People’s Republic of China on the question of Hong Kong, p.19

Declaration (1984). However, both sides refused to define the term ‘election’ in any

way and thus the reference to ‘election’ was left deliberately vague and the Joint

Declaration was initialed in Beijing. As a result, Britain and China had different views

on democratic development in Hong Kong. For Britain, since the Joint Declaration

stated the issue of election of legislature, Britain began to set about the task of

democratic development in Hong Kong so that ‘people in Hong Kong could be

function with the democratic participation in politics’34. As a result, soon after the

signing of Joint Declaration, indirect election for the members in Legco in the form of

functional constituencies was initiated in Hong Kong in 1985. There was first direct

election for Legco members in 1991.

     Yet, to China, when she signed the Joint Declaration and agreed to 50 years

without changes to Hong Kong’s way of life and capitalist system, she believed and

assumed that this would be based on the status quo in 1984. In other words, she had

not anticipated that ‘Britain would attempt to change the system, and, in particular

introduced democratic election in the lead up to the handover in 1997’35. In sum,

China anticipated that the status quo in 1984 would be maintained until the handover

and thus she believed that any process of democratization should be discussed after

1997. In fact, China made it clear that ‘stable and peaceful transition in Hong Kong

means no substantial changes to the existing governmental system’36. So, she

expected Britain should maintain the status quo of political system as the one in 1984.

   Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong, p.69
   Ibid, p.71
   Yin Chung, China ready to give Patten way out, South China Morning Post, 8 November 1992. This
is quoted from Lu Ping, head of Hong Kong and Macao Affair Office of the State Council of Chin, at
the luncheon meeting of the Sino-American Relations Committee of American Congress on 7
November 1992

       So, China believed radical political reform would produce a system that could

not converge with the Basic Law and therefore could not continue after 1997. As a

result, Patten’s reform package was regarded as ‘a major operation that placed

obstacle in the way of peaceful transition’37. The change in the relationship between

the legislative and administrative organs would cause the ‘legislative body to take

over the leading role’38. This is because if the Legco and Exco were still interrelated,

the executive could control the legislature and thus it could preserve the power of

executive-led government of Hong Kong. Yet, Patten stated the administration should

be accountable and answerable to Legco. This enabled the Legco to control the

executive branch more tightly. Also, the removal of Governor as the president of

Legco weakened his power in ruling Hong Kong. In this way, the executive branch

was simply subordinate to the legislature. It greatly weakened the foundation of

executive-led government which was the ‘traditional pattern of Hong Kong colonial

government to rule the region’39(for detail, please refer to the previous part of political

system of Hong Kong before1992) and thus the power of Governor (and perhaps the

Chief Executive in the future) would be minimized.

       All these seemed to show Patten and even Britain attempted a tremendous

changes to the existing constitution of Hong Kong which violated the idea of Joint

Declaration—to keep the existing system and way of life of Hong Kong unchanged.

Subsequently, to China, such constitutional reforms posed a great threat to the smooth

transition of Hong Kong which might undermine stability and prosperity of Hong


     W.W Chang, R.Y. Chuang, The Politics of Hong Kong’s Reversion to China, (London, 1997), p.103
     So Alvin, Hong Kong Embattled for Democracy, (London, 2000) p.146
     Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong, p.45

     The second reason that China opposed the reform greatly was resulted from the

provision of Joint Declaration and Basic Law. Since the signing of Joint Declaration

in 1984, Joint Liaison Group (JLG) was set up to strengthen the cooperation of both

sides for transitional work of Hong Kong. The Governor and other British officials

were always sent to Beijing to discuss with China on the matters relating to the

smooth transfer of government in 1997. Both sides also conducted a number of secret

negotiations on the issue of post-1997 constitutional arrangement.

     China stated two reasons why Patten’s reform package violated the Joint

Declaration and Basic Law. In terms of the contact of reform itself, Patten’s reform

emphasized the concept of accountability and widened the scope of mass participation

of politics in Hong Kong. China argued the electoral arrangements (the 1995 Election

Committee and new functional constituencies) of Legco were ‘major changes to the

political structure’40 and thus violated Clause 3 of Joint Declaration which stated that

‘political development in Hong Kong should be incremental and gradual’41. Also, the

Basic Law stipulated that ‘district organizations are not the organs of political

power’42. Yet, the constitutional package carried out the proposal of enlarging the

power of District Broads by allowing Board members to elect the Legislative


     In terms of way to present of the reform, the constitutional package announced

by Patten had not discussed and consulted with China authorities. The British

representatives also had not put forward the reform proposal to JLG for discussion. So,

   McMillen Donald, W.M Si, The Other Report of Hong Kong in1992, (Hong Kong, 1993) p.145
   Joint Declaration of the government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the government of
People’s Republic of China, p.23
   The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region of the People’s Republic of China,
Article 97(Hong Kong, 1999), p.34

‘the unilateral announcement of reform package by Patten violated Clause 5 of Joint

Declaration’43. Even after proclamation, Patten visited Beijing to reach agreement of

China over the proposal in late October 1992. As usual, the Chinese representative, Lu

Ping, director of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs, tried to establish personal friendship

with Patten for smooth cooperation of transitional work. The Chinese authority also

hope Patten could withdraw the proposal44. Yet, unlike his predecessor, Wilson, who

‘adopted low-key attitude in dealing with China on the issue of Hong Kong ‘s

future’45, Patten knew nothing about China. He believed ‘the adoption of

reconciliation policy to deal with China on the transitional work of Hong Kong as

appeasement and “kow-towing” to China which was a kind of humiliation to


      Instead, Patten believed he represented he represented Britain as ‘a nation to

discuss with China on the prospects of democratization of Hong Kong’47. So, He

stood firm and refused to make any amendment on his constitutional package. He

repeatedly said to press in Beijing that ‘ the proposal I have made which are my best

judgement on the point of balance in Hong Kong thinking on this important issue, do

not break either the Joint Declaration, the Basic Law or any previous discussion

between the present sovereign power and the future sovereign power’48.

   So Alvin, Hong Kong’s Embattled Democracy, p.176. The original text of Clause 5 of Joint
Declaration is that: ‘ The Government of United Kingdom and the Government of China declare that,
in order to ensure a smooth transfer of government in 1997, and with a view to the effective
implementation of this Joint Declaration, a Sino-British Joint Liaison Group will be set up when this
Joint Declaration enters into force; and that it will be established and will function in accordance with
the provision of Annex II to this Joint Declaration’
   Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong, p.89
   Wilson, Lord David, Hong Kong Remembers, (Hong Kong, 1996), p.2
   Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong, p.72
   Ibid, p.74
   Patten Chris, East and West, China power and the future of Asia, (London, 1997), p.12

     In Britain, the London government expressed consistent and strong support for

Patten’s democratic reforms. Both Prime Minister and Foreign Minister reiterated that

‘the constitutional package did not violate the Joint Declaration, the Basic Law and

any Sino-British agreement signed by JLG’49. The Prime Minister, John Major,

claimed that ‘[his] proposal for greater democracy are widely supported in Hong

Kong, in the United Kingdom, and in the international community and I believe [it

will] have wide support in this House [House of Common]’50. In fact, the British

parliament gave full support for Patten’s move to gazette the political reform bill.

Britain even adopted the position that ‘Hong Kong needed a faster pace of

democratization to balance the different interest within the society and to allocate

greater political power to citizen in the transitional period despite strong protest,

threat and boycotts from Chinese government’51.

     Despite of seventeen rounds of talks between China and Britain over the reform

from April to November 1993, all of them failed to produce any concrete result

because ‘both China and Britain proved unyielding on all issue’52. Basically, both

sides disagreed on two major issues: the first one was a functional constituency.

Although London compromised by narrowing the scope of functional constituencies

to 1 million voters, Beijing still insisted that voters must be limited to clearly

identifiable corporate bodies; the second one was the composition of Election

Committee. London argued that the committee should be made up of locally elected

members but Beijing insisted that it should consist of functional constituencies and

    Bruce Anderson, John Major: The making of Prime Minister, (London, 1995), p.214
   Wong Fanny, Patten rebuffs China to stand firm on reform, South China Morning Post, (Hong Kong),
19 March 1993
   Dimbleby Jonathan, The Last Governor: Chris Patten and Handover of Hong Kong, p.431
   Alvin So, Hong Kong’s Embattled Democracy, p.186

appointed members53. In fact, the two sides failed to reach agreement not only on

these issues, but also on three other ‘simple issues’54: the lowering of voting age, the

one-seat-one vote system for directly elected seats, and the abolition of appointive

seats on the lower councils.

     So, all these seemed to show to China that Britain changed her approach and

adopted a hard-line and uncompromising attitude towards China on the issue of future

political system and constitution of Hong Kong. The break up of negotiation in

November 1993 caused China to believe that ‘Britain decided to foster the process of

democratization of Hong Kong even at the expense of breaching Sino-British

friendship and cooperation’55. Britain seemed to use the reform to set conflict with

China which precipitated her anger against Britain and Patten.

     There were three ways for China to express their opposition to the reform. The

first one was war of word. China officials and press like Wen Wei Po called Patten

‘serpent’, ‘two-headed snake’, ‘sinner of millennium’56 as it attacked ‘London’s

hypocrisy in introducing democracy to Hong Kong after 150 years of colonial rule’57.

Secondly, China fought back on economic level. After the announcement of reform,

Beijing threatened that ‘any contracts, leases and agreement signed by the Hong Kong

Government will not be honored after 1997 unless they have been approved in

advance by China’58. Clearly, Beijing’s move was intended to force the business

community to take a firm stand against Patten’s electoral reforms.

     Despite of such protest notes, threats of serious consequences, Patten still stood
   Ibid, p.188
    W.W. Chang, R.Y.Chuang, The Politics of Hong Kong’s Reversion to China, p.105
    C.K.Chu, ‘Savior’ of Hong Kong,Wen Wei Po (Hong Kong), 8 July 1993
    S.H. Lo, The Politics of Democratization of Hong Kong, p.203
    Wong Lana, Mainland attacks ‘Patten Conspiracy’, South China Morning Post, 1December 1992

firm to ask the Legco to approve his reform package and to plan the 1995 Legco

election in accordance with his reform package. He even described the warning given

by China as ‘empty threats’59. So, it is apparent that Sino-British antagonism over

political development of Hong Kong had been serious since Governor’s

announcement of constitutional package in October 1992. It seemed that ‘each side

stood firm hoping to get the other to back down from its position’60.

      As a result, China finally fought back on political level. Since Britain took

independent to change the existing political system of Hong Kong without informing

China. Beijing also ignored Patten’s reform package by starting the so-called ‘Second

Stove’ since 1993—China refused to negotiate and even to talk with Britain on the

issue of political arrangement of Hong Kong61. Instead, China set out political future

of Hong Kong alone by creating Preliminary Working Committee (PWC) for the

Hong Kong Administrative Region Preparatory Committee. All members were

appointed by Chinese authorities. In this way, China simply made use of PWC to

‘accelerate preparation for a shadow government for post-1997 on her own’62.

      So, it simply showed the British government and Chinese government worked

separately on the constitution of Hong Kong in the future. On the side of Britain, she

still claimed the constitutional package of Patten was valid and should be continued in

post-1997 HKSAR government; on the side of China, she designed a shadow

government for HKSAR by herself. Cooperation between China and Britain on

transitional work was almost completely terminated. In fact, during this period,

   Patten Chris, East and West: China power and the future of Asia, p.64
    Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong, p.91
    Ibid, p.106

Chinese officials in Hong Kong avoided any encounters at official functions which

they would normally attend with Hong Kong Governor and Patten was not invited to

Chinese Government backed functions63. The Sino-British relation was frozen and

reached the lowest point.

     Ibid, p.113

B.Antagonism between China and the
democrats in Hong Kong
      The liberal political groups with democratic orientation generally welcomed and

lent support to Patten’s reform. One particular political group, the United Democrats

of Hong Kong (UDHK, former body of current Democratic Party) had fully endorsed

the democratic reform. The leader of UDHK, Martin Lee, commented ‘ Mr. Patten has

grasped the theme on which the democrats the theme on which the democrats

campaigned so successfully last year [1991]—democratization of the government’64.

He expressed his pleasant surprise that the British would ‘do something good’65 for

Hong Kong. Another outspoken pro-democracy independent legislator, Emily Lau,

also stated that ‘given the circumstance we are in, it is a step in the right direction’66.

These democrats generally believed the reform package ‘would strengthen the

government openness and public participation’67.

       In particular, these democrats like UDHK welcomed the wide representation of

the proposed functional constituencies as well as the democratic composition of the

proposed the Election Committee68. They were also pleased by the idea of having all

members of District Broads and Urban/Regional Council directly elected, and the

suggestion of lowering voting age from21 to1869. There are three reasons for them to

support the reform package.

       First, they perceived ‘democratic development as essential to further economic

     Wong Fanny, Backing in Legco foe Patten, South China Morning Post, 11 October 1992
     Cheung Doreen, Councilors Back Law Change, Hong Kong Standard (Hong Kong), 9 October 1992
     Ng Louis, Patten warn China over Election Arrangement, Ibid, 24 October 1992
     Mushkat Miron, Hong Kong: The Challenge of Transformation, p.175
     So Alvin, Hong Kong’s Embattled Democracy, p.182

growth in Hong Kong’70. A fair and democratic system was thought to further

economic growth in Hong Kong and to be able to balance and to protect the economic

and political interest of multinational corporations, businessmen, industrialists and

citizens71. Second, the democrats believed that ‘Hong Kong citizens aspire to

democracy’72. In fact, many surveys revealed the will of citizen for more democracy

and supported Patten’s reform package. The citizen also believed that the package was

not considered to be violating any agreements and hence it converged with Basic Law

(For detail of survey result, please see Appendix). As a result, these democrats

claimed ‘Hong Kong citizens are oriented towards a more democratic and

representative government after 1997’73. With high political and social consciousness,

they argued the citizens were thought to be unwilling to be controlled by privileged

elites. Third, the democrats insisted that ‘democratization was not aimed at making

Hong Kong become either an independent state or a pro-British puppet’74. Instead,

they believed the reform package could help to ‘actualize the notion of “Hong Kong

people ruling Hong Kong” and to achieve a genuine “high degree of autonomy”’75. In

this way, the democrats reiterated the democratic reform did not violate the Joint

Declaration or the Basic Law.

      As a result, it was clear that the Chinese government and the democratic in Hong

Kong had different opinions and contrasting responses to the reform package by

Patten. As a consequence, the constitutional package simply polarized the Chinese

government and democrats in Hong Kong.

     To the Chinese government, democratization in Hong Kong was a cause of concern
    Ming K.Chan, The Hong Kong’s Reintegration of China, p.143
   Ibid, p.146
    Cheng Joseph, Hong Kong in Transition (Hong Kong, 1997), p.134
    Ming K.Chan, The Hong Kong’s Reintegration of China, p.148
    Chung Yin, China ready to give Patten way out, South China Morning Post, 18 November 1992

because ‘political power might fall into the hands of persons or political groups to

China’76. In this way, China’s influence and control over Hong Kong would diminish.

As such, China was concerned that ‘Hong Kong might become an independent

regime’77. China’s thinking was reinforced by June Forth Incident (1989) in which

many democratic openly denounced China leaders. In fact, these democrats were the

members of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China (the

Alliance), which was regarded as subversive group after the Incident by Beijing

authority. Yet, most members of the Alliance who reorganized themselves as UDHK

became legislators through the 1991 Legco election. China worried that ‘democracy

became new kind of power engineering the Legco’78. So, she feared a scenario that

Hong Kong might become a counter-revolutionary base to overthrow Communist

regime in the mainland79. China thereby conceived that democracy in Hong Kong had

to be grasped in Hong Kong had to be grasped by such hostile group like UDHK.

      Yet, Patten’s constitutional package further stirred up fear of China. As mentioned,

under reform package, Patten regulated the Legco should be independent and

separated from the Exco. The Legco was even expected to be an effective check on

the government, preventing abuse of power and maladministration. In this way, the

Legco was intended to perform supervisory function on the executive branch and

administration. As a result, Patten’s fresh democratic division of power ‘allowed the

legislature to grow in strength, in leadership and in responsible behavior’80 and the

reform simply increased the authority of Legco, making it more powerful which

simply increased the power of democrats to control the government through Legco.

     Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong, p.110
     So, Alvin, Hong Kong’s Embattled Democracy, p.146
     Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong, p.112
     W.W. Chang, R.Y Chuang, The Politics of Hong Kong’s Reversion to China, p.80

     Also, Patten’s reform was to increase the electoral franchise in both functional

constituencies and direct election. If Patten’s reforms were fully implemented, Hong

Kong would have ‘three-tier government elected by a huge number of no less than 3.2

million new voters which was more than half of Hong Kong’s total population’81.

China feared that it simply increased the possibility that more democrats might be

elected in Legco in 1995. China’s worry finally came true in the Legco election which

was carried out on the basis of Patten’s reform package. The prodemocracy forces

again swept the directly elected seats82. The former members of UDHK became

Democratic Party and it won nineteen seats out of a total of sixty. Together with other

independent pro-democratic legislators, the democrats controlled almost half of Legco

seats after 1995.

      The 1995 Legco was completely elected governmental organs and this Legco was

‘one of Patten’s own making’83. The democrats had ‘great taste of power in Legco’84.

They were able to get through some legislation that could not be passed previously

such as Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, Protection of Victoria Harbor etc. So, the

result of 1995 Legco election strengthened the suspicion of China that ‘these

pro-democrats who were also the member of the Alliance might make use of the

Council to endanger the communist rule of China’85. For example, the declaration of

independence of Hong Kong and even the passing of law that might revolt against

Communist China. In consequence, mutual distrust was deepened between China and

democrats in Hong Kong. China also feared that the future SAR government might be

     Ibid, p.104
     So Alvin, Hong Kong’s Embattled Democracy, p.178
     Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong, p.142
     C.K Hsin, The 1995 Legislative Council Election in Hong Kong, (Hong Kong, 1996), p.106
     Ibid, p.182

dominated by these undesirable liberal groups. This is because of the ‘through-train

model’. As mentioned, since 1984, China and Britain had a number of secret

negotiation. One of these secret agreement was that the Legco election would be

arranged, in1995, for four-year period of office, ‘removing the need for fresh election

in1997’86. In this way, the legislative members elected in 1995 would serve as the first

legislature of HKSAR until 1999(i.e. after handover)

      In response, China started to isolate the democrats. When China started ‘Second

Stove’ to create its own shadow government for post-1997 Hong Kong, no member of

UDHK was appointed to the PWC. More importantly, China started to think of

‘derailing through train’. In fact, when Patten announced his reform package without

consultation with China in October 1992, Beijing threatened its threat ‘not only to

sack any Legislative Councilors elected under a system it does not approve but also to

dismiss the other two tiers of government’87. The great victory of democrats in 1995

Legco election, it further confirmed Beijing’s decision to derail through train— the

Chinese government would disband the Legco on 30 June 1997 and the legislators

were not allowed to keep the post after the handover88. China even made it clear that

‘Patten’s legislature membership would not be scrapped after the handover’89

        Instead, Provisional Legislative Council (PLC) was set up to replace ‘through

train’. All members of PLC were appointed by Chinese authority and mainly

consisted of pro-China politicians and businessmen like Tam Yiuchung, Tsang Yok

Sing. China claimed that ‘ the interim body will not be in contravention of the Basic

     Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong, p.47
     Parsons Charlotte, Legislature left open to attack, South China Morning Post, 23 November 1992
     So Alvin, Hong Kong Embattled Democracy, p.167
     Ibid, 29 September 1995

Law because the document [Basic Law] only refers to the first legislature of SAR, not

the Provisional Legislature’90. In this way, the PLC would not be tied by the provision

in the Basic Law concerning how it was to be constituted91.

     Such arrangement further intensified the antagonism between China and

democrats in Hong Kong. The latter were disappointed and criticized that China was

playing ‘verbal gymnastic’92. They even condemned the establishment of PLC was an

attempt of Beijing authority to persuade the public that ‘words can have many

meaning the government chooses to give them at any particular time, depending on its

own convenience’93. So, the democrats argued such PLC was not bound by Basic Law

and thus it was regarded as ‘illegal’.

      Apart from verbal criticism, the democrats took legal action to challenge the

legitimacy of PLC. They argued that because the PLC had no constitutional rationale,

it was an ‘unlawful body’94. So, in June 1997, the Democratic Party launched a

challenge to the PLC in court. Yet, the court ruled it out and the democrats criticized

the court as ‘ bowing to power’95. Despite of this, the democrats boycotted the PLC.

As Emily Lau commented ‘ we have been elected for four years. I don’t see why we

should be thrown out by the Chinese government in1997’96. So, Patten’s reform

created a group of Legco members who ‘saw Beijing usurping their rights, with

popular mandate to serve their term from1995 to1999’97. In this way, it further

   Chan Quinton, Interim Legislators pass the bill to fill legal vacuum, South China Morning Post, 12
January 1996
   Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong, p.169
   Li Angela, Democracy calls rebuffed, South China Morning Post, 14 January 1996
   So Alvin, Hong Kong’s Embattled Democracy, p.170
   Arculli Ronald, Democrats ought to reconsider position, South China Morning Post, 31 July 1997
   C.K. Lau, An Uneasy Victory, Hong Kong Standard, 18 September 1995
   So Alvin, Hong Kong Embattled Democracy, p.179

deteriorated the relation and caused polarization between China and democrats in

Hong Kong.

C.Emergence of adversarial politics in Hong

Kong: democrats vs. pro-China politicians and
      Apart from great opposition from China, strong resistance to the constitutional

package also came from Liberal Party (the members consisted of conservative

businessmen and professional groups like Allen Li Pengfei and James Tien Pikchun)

and Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), who believed that

democratization in Hong Kong should be incremental. They charged that Patten’s

constitutional package were radical and hence could not converge with the Basic Law.

They commented ‘the constitutional package is a plan which may be beautiful to

some people but lacks structure, the structure being the Basic Law which is to become

effective after 1997’98. These pro-China groups generally believed that the package

would contravene the policy of seeking convergence with Basic Law and thus put

smooth transition of sovereignty at risk99. Adoption of package was thought not to be

in the interest of the Hong Kong people because ‘it would have no hope of surviving

after1997’100. Thus, they rejected any suggestion that the ‘Basic Law, which is

regarded as the fruit of past negotiation on the future political system, should be


      The DAB was of the view that Hong Kong did not want to jeopardize social

stability and economic prosperity, hence there was a need for democracy to progress

in a gradual and orderly fashion102. The DAB chairman, Tsang Yok Sing, accused

Patten of ‘inventing a few cunning devices in the constitutional package which will

    Cheung Gary, The mandarin strikes back, Hong Kong Standard, 2 December 1992
    Mushkat Miron, Hong Kong: Challenge of Transformation, p.254
    Gitting Danny, Political topsturvy overturned, South China Post, 11October 1992
    Ching Frank, Hong Kong and China: For Better or For Worse, (New York, 1997), p.121

enable him to transcend the pace of political reform set by Basic Law’103. The DAB

perceived that the reform package violated both the spirit and provision of Basic Law

in several aspects. First, the proposed new functional constituencies and the

associated one-man-one-vote mechanism were ‘radical changes which contradicted

the idea of gradual democratization’104. This also deviated from the original idea of

functional constituencies as stated in the 1984 White Paper which stressed that ‘full

weight should be given to representation of economic and professional sectors which

are essential to future confidence and prosperity’105. Second, the proposed Election

Committee was composed of directly elected District Board members to elect ten

legislators would result in an election which was direct in nature and indirect in

format. To DAB, this was regarded as a radical step in the democratic progress 106.

Like the stance of China, they criticized the composition violated Basic Law.

      Conservative business and professional groups which were represented by

Liberal Party favored a political system which was acceptable to China and conducive

to investment. In fact, to the business sector, political development ‘should not lead to

any harmful effect on the economy but rather should contribute to further economic

development’107. So, democratization brought several worries to business sector in

Hong Kong which would be explained as follow:

      First, the business sector was afraid that the elected legislators from the masses

might ‘pressure the government to implement policies in favor of the lower-middle

    Gitting Danny, Political topsyturvy, South China Morning Post, 11 October 1992
    S.H. Lo, The Politics of Democratization in Hong Kong, p.241
    Hong Kong Government, White Paper: The Further Development of Representative Government in
Hong Kong (Hong Kong, 1984), p.7
    S.H.Lo, The Politics of Democratization in Hong Kong, p.243
    Leung Benjamin J. , 25 Years of Social and Economic Development in Hong Kong( Hong
Kong,1995) p.133

class’108. The business sector feared that ‘policies involving more public expenditure

on social services and more revenue from profit tax would be urged by the elected

legislators so as to gain support and votes from the public’109. Yet, the business sector

did not welcome such kind of policies because ‘it would reduce the profit margin’110,

thus decreasing the incentive to invest in Hong Kong. Second, it was related to the

growing influence of China over Hong Kong. Since the Open Door Policy of China in

1978, businessmen had a number of investment in China causing them to ‘become

dependent on Chinese banks and Chinese-backed companies’111. This caused China to

have tremendous influence over the economy of Hong Kong. As business sector

recognized that China was not in favor of democratization of Hong Kong, they did not

want to alienate China. This is because ‘any negative responses or reaction from

China caused substantial damage to both businessmen and ordinary citizen in Hong

Kong’112. In this way, their investment and vested interest in mainland China would

be adversely affected if democratization in Hong Kong was progressed radically.

Businessmen therefore opposed Patten’s constitutional package.

        From the above analysis, it showed that various group of political actors in

Hong Kong (mainly the democrats, and the pro-China position and conservative

businessmen) had different views towards Patten reform package. ‘Those groups with

democratic orientation gave support to Patten’s political reforms, while other groups

status quo orientation stood on the side of China’113. As mentioned before, they

expressed clear but antagonistic message on the reform package. As a result, political

and business groups in Hong Kong were greatly ‘polarized and greatly divided over
      Ibid, p.135
      Ibid, p.156
      So Alvin, Hong Kong’s Embattled Democracy, p.204

the direction in which the political system should develop’114. The reform package

seemed to add the difficulty among the political and business groups to reach a

consensus so as to maintain stability and to ensure a smooth transition.

      In this way, Patten’s reform package further deepened the contradiction among

various political actors in the Legco. Since the first Legco direct election was

introduced in 1991, there had been a clear ‘two blocs in the Council: democratic and

conservative’115. After the 1991 Legco election, the democrats won 16 directly elected

seats out of 18. They also won 5 seats from functional constituencies. So, they

gradually formed ‘solid democratic camp’ and emerged as ‘the most prominent

political organization in Hong Kong polity’116. On the other hand, the conservative

businessmen controlled most seats from functional constituencies. When 1995 Legco

election was held, as mentioned, the democrats did well in direct election. Yet, the

business’s Liberal Party was still managed to secure 10 seats in Legco through

‘mostly indirect elections in functional constituencies and Election Committee’117.

With the support of pro-Beijing forces and other independent in the Legco, the

pro-China faction ‘could muster enough votes to block any radical proposal of


      All these showed that during 1992 to1997, the democrats and the conservative

(including the DAB and the Liberal Party) achieved a balance of power in Legco. So,

when bills concerning political development of Hong Kong was made, neither side

could get an overwhelming majority of supporting or opposing the motion concerning
    S.K.Lau, Hong Kong Tried Democracy: The 1991Elections in Hong Kong,(Hong Kong,
    So Alvin, Hong Kong’s Embattled Democracy, p.96
    Ibid, p.136
    Ibid, p.140

Patten’s reform package. Despite of great opposition from China, ‘Patten held firm

against Beijing offensive and proceeded with his reform proposal without China’s

blessing’119. In June 1994, when Legco was first to be asked to consider the proposed

arrangement of functional constituencies and Election Committee, it revealed great

contradictions between democrats and pro-China faction. At the Legco session, only

23 legislators were counted on as firm votes in favor of Patten’s electoral

arrangements; another 23 legislators were definitely voted against the reform package.

In view of closeness of the vote, Patten was asked ‘to allow the local members to

decide themselves without official interference (the three Official Members of the

Legco were bound by law to support the Governor)’120. Yet, Patten refused and thus

his reform proposal was able to survive. So, ‘Patten won technically but perhaps lost


        When China derailed ‘through train’ and decided to establish PLC after

handover, the democrats opposed. By March 1996, an independent democratic

legislator Leung Yiuchung made a motion to condemn the Preparatory Committee and

PLC as ‘puppet of the Chinese government’122. The motion was carried by a vote of

23 to 22. All these showed fundamental differences on Patten’s reform package made

political cooperation between the democratic and conservative difficult, let alone

sharing political power in government.

        Consequently, it created political deadlock in Hong Kong making consensual

politics no longer existed during transitional period because of the serious spilt among

democrats, pro-China politicians and business sector. Both sides became

      Ibid, p,162
      Ho Andy, Shutting out the question, South China Morning Post, 14 March 1996

‘diametrically opposed against each other’123. As a result, it emerged a war of word

which can be easily seen during 1995 Legco election campaign. The pro-China

groups, led by DAB, hailed that electing candidates who had good relationship with

China would help smooth transition. They accused the democrats of ‘confronting

China and destabilizing Hong Kong’ while the democrats claimed that they were ‘firm

and trustworthy’. They claimed they stood firm ‘to safeguard Hong Kong’s interest

against Beijing intrusion’124. From such kind of ‘war’, it showed that adversarial

politics began to emerge between the democrats and pro-China groups in Legco

which continued to exist even up to now.

      On the whole, the dilemma of political reform for Hong Kong government during

transitional period revolved around ‘the dual concern of democracy and

      King Ambrose, The Hong Kong Talks and Hong Kong Politics,(Hong Kong, 1998), p.163
      So Alvin, Hong Kong’s Embattled Democracy, p.176

convergence’125which means whether the pace of democratization should progress in

accordance with the one stated in the Joint Declaration, Basic Law and other

agreement on the issue of political development of Hong Kong signed by Britain and

China since 1984. From the above analysis, democracy was generally supported by

Hong Kong liberal political group, while convergence was desired by the conservative

political groups, business sector and China. Although the Hong Kong government

attempted to integrate these two goals, Patten’s reform package did not ‘satisfy the

expectation of major political actors’126. Instead, the reform package intensified

political antagonism and conflict among them

      Currently, Hong Kong has been ruled by SAR government. The principle of

‘Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong’ and ‘ high degree of autonomy’ have been

adopted. The adverse effect of Patten’s reform package continued which characterize

Hong Kong contemporary polity. First, antagonism between China and democrats in

Hong Kong still exists. The democrats still fail to get any chance for formal access

with central government. Also, adversarial politics in Hong Kong have been worsened

between democrats and pro-China groups. The democrats called the pro-China group

like DAB as ‘Royalist’ while the pro-China group gave the democrats a nickname—

‘opposite faction’. Consensual politics seems difficult to achieve in Hong Kong.

1. Survey by Hong Kong Polling and Business Research with 1500 respondents
(announced by South China Morning Post, 11 October 1992)

      Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong, p.94
      Ibid, p.97

                    The package has gone far
                                                Whether the constitutional The Governor should push
                    enough towards meeting

                    Hong Kong’s aspiration for package should be           through the constitutional

                    more democracy
                                                supported                  package even it is made the

                                                                           through train

Agree                        60%                       73%                           56%

Disagree                     23%                       11%                           19%

No response                  17%                       16%                           25%

2.Survey by South China Morning Post with 2000 respondents (announced in 10

 October 1992)

                             Democracy plan should proceed even The Governor is giving Hong Kong

                             if China objects                      more democracy

Agree                                        49%                              47%

Disagree                                     15%                              15%

No response                                  36%                              38%

3.Survey by Hong Kong Standard with 2000 respondents (announced in 15 October


                                        On the pace of democratization, the reform package is


About Right                                                  40%

Almost fast enough                                           15%

Not Fast enough                                              9%

Too fast                                                     22%

No response                                                  14%

4.Survey by Sing Tao Daily News with 3000 respondents (announced in 5 November


                                        Generally, would you support the constitutional package

Yes                                                           62.2%

No                                                            19.5%

No response                                                   18.3%

A. Newspapers
    1. Hong Kong Standard

    2. South China Morning Post
    3. Wen Wei Pao

B. Documentary Source
    1. Hong Kong Government, Hong Kong Hansard1992-93(Hong Kong,1993)
    2. Hong Kong Government, White Paper: The Further Development of
       Representative Development in Hong Kong(Hong Kong, 1984)
    3. Joint Declaration of the government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
       and the government of People’s Republic of China
    4. The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of People’s
        Republic of China(Hong Kong, 1999)
C. Books
    1. Brown Judith, Hong Kong’s Transition,1842-1997(New York,1999)
    2. Bruce Anderson, John Major: The making of Prime Minister(London,1995)
    3. C.K.Hsin, The 1995 Legislative Council Election in Hong Kong(Hong
    4. Cheng Joseph, Hong Kong in Transition,(Hong Kong,1997)
    5. Ching Frank, Hong Kong and China: For Better or For Worse(New
    6. Dimberly Jonathan, The Last Governor: Chris Patten and the handover of
        Hong Kong(London, 1997)
    7. Flowerdew John, The Final Years of British Hong Kong(London, 1998)
    8. Howe Geoffrey, Conflict of Loyalty(London, 1994)
    9. King Ambrose, The Hong Kong Talks and Hong Kong Politics(Hong
    10. McMillen Donald, W.M.Si, The Other Report of Hong Kong1992(Hong
        Kong, 1993)
    11. Ming K. Chan, The Challenge of Hong Kong: Reintegration with
        China( Hong Kong, 1998)
    12. Muskhat Miron, Hong Kong: The Challenge of Transformation(Hong
    13. Leung Benjamin K, 25 Years of Social and Economic Development in Hong
        Kong(Hong Kong, 1995)
    14. Patten Chris, East and West: China Power and the future of
    15. S.K Lau, Hong Kong Tried Democracy: The 1991 Election in Hong
        Kong(Hong Kong,1993)
    16. Scott I, Political Change and Crisis of legitimacy in Hong
    17. So Alvin, Hong Kong’s Embattled Democracy(London, 2000)
    18. Sida Michael, Hong Kong Towards 1997(Lincoln, 1994)
    19. Wilson Lord David, Hong Kong Remembers(Hong Kong, 1996)
    20. Yahuda Michael, Hong Kong: China’s Challenge(London,2001)


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