Political Leadership and Governance Crises in Hong Kong

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-94
Journal / PublicationNew Zealand Journal of Asian Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


This paper aims to analyze the political leadership and governance crises in Hong Kong after Chief Executive Lam assumed office in July 2017 under Chinese sovereignty and the political framework of “One Country, Two Systems”. After the failure of passing a political reform bill in 2015 without any progress of democratic development, the Hong Kong chief executive was facing several major political tasks. These included whether political reforms would be re-launched to alleviate the legitimacy crisis; whether Hong Kong could maintain a high degree of autonomy when facing increasing pressure and influence from Beijing; and whether the challenges from localist and independence movements of Hong Kong could be tamed. An evaluation of Lam’s leadership would help to understand how these political problems would be solved and to project Hong Kong’s political development. This paper argues that Lam’s leadership stressed “incremental development”, a “reflector model” of governance, “transactional mediation”, and a “role-determined leadership.” These characteristic features of leadership might limit the Lam administration to resolve effectively the governance crises ahead. © 2019, New Zealand Asian Studies Society (NZASIA). All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Democracy, Legitimacy, Hong Kong-China Relationship