An Overview of HK’s Political System

This is not from a news article but The Real Hong Kong News believes that without providing a clear overview of Hong Kong’s political system, it is impossible for people to fully understand nor to analysis the situation in Hong Kong.

Below is a brief introduction written by the editors at The Real Hong Kong News:

Hong Kong’s political system has a number of peculiar characteristics: registered voters (residents above 18 years of age) can vote for their representative in the territory’s Legislative Council (Legco – Hong Kong’s government is unicameral, unlike those of most western democracies with a junior and senior house). These elected members then serve their geographical constituencies and can be re-elected at subsequent elections, or replaced if they fail to please their electorate. Separately, but still sitting within the legislative council, and matching the numbers of representatives of the geographical constituencies at 35:35 are the “functional” constituencies’ representatives. These are elected by special-interest groups in the business community (reference here for more details) who are largely pro-Peking (Hong Kong’s business community has always put its own profits ahead of social good, ever since the first traders settled in Hong Kong, peddling opium in return for silk, tea and porcelain). Since government bills need a simple majority, while private members’ bills need a majority, separately, within 1) the functional and 2) the geographic constituencies, the business lobby holds an effective power to steam-roller government bills into law, and to veto private members’ bills.

To institute a free, fair, and representative electoral process, “functional” constituencies need to be abolished.

Above the Legislative Council sits the Executive Council (Exco) – made up of members invited or ‘appointed” by the Chief Executive. Exco is the equivalent of the US president’s special advisors, but rather different to a “cabinet” in a British-style electoral system in that the cabinet can only be made up of elected parliamentarians, whereas the US president and Hong Kong’s chief executive can nominate whomever they choose to fulfil these roles.

The chief executive (CE) himself is elected by a “closed circle” of 1,200 electors from a shortlist of candidates they themselves have selected. The 1,200 electors are themselves elected from within the functional constituencies with additional members from religious groups and about 8% nominated directly or indirectly by Peking. Thus Hong Kong’s “democracy” is set up cynically to disenfranchise its people.

To institute a free, fair and representative electoral process, the “closed circle” voting system needs to be abolished, as does the pre-selection process, such that anyone can stand on his or her own merits, and be elected on a first-past-the-post one-man-one-vote “universal suffrage” model.

Both of these necessary pre-requisites for free, fair and representative elections have been moving in reverse over the past ten years with more functional constituencies being added to the legislative council, and more electors being added to the “closed pool” CE election committee.

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14 responses to “An Overview of HK’s Political System

  1. Pingback: The Burden of Hong Kong: 760,000 Immigrants Holding One-way Permit | The Real Hong Kong News·

  2. Thank you for a concise introduction to the governance of Hong Kong. As the author of the article observes, it is not democartic governance but that is hardly a surprise.given the Peking influence.

    • Dear William,

      Thank you for visiting our blog. In deed, we all knew that the HKSAR government is not democratic and none of us are surprised by it because Peking is a totalitarian dictatorship.

      One thing that still surprises us, the editors of this blog: people still believe that one day China will be democratic and that’s when Hong Kong will get democracy. The editors here (and many across the world) know, democracy is never “given” by those in power – why would those in power want to risk loosing their power? Simply impossible.

      There are individuals and groups started to call for the people of Hong Kong to work on drafting a new constitution, a new “Basic Law’. Using internet to help engage more people to participate in drafting Hong Kong’s constitution that will be the pillar of our society and ensure that a true democratic election will be put in place – at the moment, China can refuse to appoint the candidate the people of Hong Kong elect, EVEN IF the Chinese government “allows” a non-democratic election to go ahead.

      Please come back and visit. What’s more important is share our blog with your friends, and let us know your thoughts, so that we could improve.

      Hope to see you again soon.

      Best,

      The Real Hong Kong News

  3. Hi dear

    I am sorry, I might ask question out of your subject, but I don’t know who to ask

    I find this blog, and I think I might find the answer, here is my question

    I am thinking to study in Hong Kong, but I don’t like what China has done to Tibet and now Hong Kong, therefore, I am confusing in this matter

    is going to Hong Kong, consider as going to China??? because I hear Hong Kong have different visa, different currency and so on..so is it so???

    also is it my money will benefit China, if I pay university in Hong Kong???

    I am indeed, intresting in joining Hong Kong independence movement if I will be there, I am long time supporter of Tibet, but not sure what is the impact, do governmental university dismiss student if they involve in activity??? I am thinking to apply to Hong Kong polytichnic university..but so confuse about this matter

    Thanks..I hope to find help in this matter 🙂

    • Hi there!
      The editors think that it’s best for us to provide you with some facts in response to your inquiry rather than giving you a definite answer:
      HK still has its own currency, visa system (which only applies to people who do not hold a China passport) and legal system (so far).
      By studying in HK, one will not be contributing to China. The reality is, however, universities in Hong Kong have been recruiting students from China and some even open a “branch” in China to “make money”.
      The editors at The Real Hong Kong News feel for the Tibetans as their lives are in danger – people are “disappearing”! However, given the limited information we have about Tibet (media control), we could only hope for the best for the Tibetans.
      Hong Kong Polytechnic University is a good university. However, our advise is to be aware of the brainwashing elements that they try to inflict on different subjects/courses. As long as one is aware of it, this should not be a major concern.
      Please keep us posted on your decision and/or application.
      Wish you the best of luck!
      Regards,
      The Real Hong Kong News

  4. Thank you very much for clear answer, I appreciated

    yeah, I aware that some university might try to brainwash there students, I am not concern about this, because I aware what China has done to Tibet, although I am not Tibetan

    does Hong Kong polytichnic university have a history of harassing or dismissing its student if they know that student has participate in some activity against China, such as protest or others???

    I have one of my friend, who study in China, in Fudan university in shanghai, after university has discovered some of his activity in internet sympathizing with some uyghurs who harrassed by Chinese authorities, they dismiss him after three years of studying without any certificate!!!! and even expelled later from China!!!

    But I think Hong Kong is not that bad like China, but I am not sure at what degree

    Thank you very much..any help much appreciated

    • Good to hear from you again.
      The editors have not heard about PolyU ever dismissing their students because they protest or participate in any political events. However, there are lots of Chinese students in every university in HK, and you may find it hard to befriend with them.
      In a way, Hong Kong still maintain some degree of freedom in this sense. However, you must be very careful when you protest. The police nowadays have cameras on their chests, and they will provoke you to assault them – one of the editors here was in a protest not long ago, and the police barricaded an area to stop people from joining the main protest causing a lot of congestion on the street. When the protestors try to pull the fences away (this editor was next to these protestors), at least one police swept his feet on the ankle level and tried to trip over the protestors (including our editor). Two girls fell over and thankfully they were both ok. Just be very careful. The police in Hong Kong can no longer be trusted in this sense.

  5. Thank you very much..glad to hear from you

    I expect that Hong Kong is not bad as china..although I know its still dengerous..glad your editor survived

    I am aware also that Hong Kong have a lots of foreigners especially british people, and I hear that foreigners is morethan Hong Konger

    do british people involve in protest or activity??? I thought police might respect foreigner a bit morethan Hong Konger

    in a separate subject, I read intrested news, that group of Hong Konger protested against Chinese tourists..it will be good if you post about it

    Thanks

    • Hong Kong is part of China, Tibet is also part of China.

      Real HK news is giving you the wrong information because they only care about their own politics, their politics before people.

      Pay no attention those stories you hear about Tibet and the Chinese government. Often they are exaggerated and inaccurate. You should visit Hong Kong for a Holiday and see whether it is a place you really want to study. Although many people ont he street are rude, they are just depressed. There are still some other nice people around.

      • As mentioned in my previous posts, TRHKN approve almost all comments (except for extremely aggressive ones) – we respect freedom of speech.
        It is important to see how different people think, so that we can all try to understand their “logic” (despite the fact in this comment seems to merely say the world have misunderstood China yet fail to provide evidence or a sound argument)

  6. Pingback: An Overview of HK’s Political System | The Real Hong Kong News | newshongkong·

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