Public service neutrality in Hong Kong : Problems and prospects

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Chor-Yung Cheung

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationAustralian Journal of Public Administration
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


Before 2002, Hong Kong's higher civil servants were required to play the dual role of quasi-ministers and civil servants. In such a context, can we make sense of the claim that Hong Kong's civil service has all along been politically neutral? What role has neutrality played in the governance of Hong Kong? Informed by Kernaghan's model of political neutrality and Oakeshott's idea of civil association, this article argues that the public service should not be regarded solely as an effective instrument of the government in power. In conclusion, this article proposes some institutional measures to strengthen the neutrality of the public service in Hong Kong and argues that properly understanding this will help prevent excessive or illegitimate partisan political power. © 2009 National Council of the Institute of Public Administration Australia.

Research Area(s)

  • Accountability, Civil association, Political neutrality, Public service