Confucian Values and Democratic Governance in Hong Kong

By Joseph Y.S. Cheng.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper attempts to examine the interaction between Confucian values and the governance processes in Hong Kong in the post-Second World War period. As a British colony developed first as an entrepôt, then as a base for labour-intensive industries and subsequently an international business service centre and financial centre, the rule of law and individual freedoms were respected in an early stage, at least they became quite well established from the 1950s onwards. Hence democratization has largely been concentrated on the establishment of a democratic political system. In 2003, the pro-democracy movement in the territory began to demand for the direct election of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage by 2007 and the elections of all the seats of the legislature by the same method in 2008. Democracy in this way is treated as a procedure for making political decisions, something similar to what Robert A. Dahl calls polyarchy.

Like most Western European countries, Hong Kong is now anticipating economic slowdown, and Hong Kong people may have to seek their satisfaction elsewhere. New aspects of self-cultivation and family harmony will have to be explored in the context of traditional Confucian values which, hopefully, will continue to provide inner peace and emotional support.

Keywords: Confucian Values, Governance Processes, Hong Kong, Post-Second World War Period, Political Participation, Democratization

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.25-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 557.248KB).

Prof. Joseph Y.S. Cheng

Professor, Contemporary China Research Project, Department of Public and Social Administration, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Joseph Y.S. Cheng is Chair Professor of Political Science and Coordinator of the Contemporary China Research Project, City University of Hong Kong. He is the founding editor of the Hong Kong Journal of Social Sciences and The Journal of Comparative Asian Development. He has published widely on political development in China and Hong Kong, Chinese foreign policy and local government in southern China. He has recently edited volumes on Challenges and Policy Programmes of China’s New Leadership and The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in Its First Decade. Since 2005, he has been serving as the founding president of the Asian Studies Association of Hong Kong.

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