Understanding the autonomy of Hong Kong from historical and comparative perspectives

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

2 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-247
Journal / PublicationChina Information
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


The exercise of autonomy is a product of the political process of mutual learning by the center and the periphery. Propriety of action and response from both sides is not judged simply on the basis of formal legal permissibility, but is also deciphered with reference to experience in previous encounters. Earlier exchanges and responses to interactions create institutional memory, protocols for action, and limits to legitimate expectations. For both the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the central people's government, the new framework, through mutual adjustment and adaptation, is still in the process of being made. Their parallel experience in handling the central and local relationship can serve as a good basis for their exchanges. The articles included in this issue provide comparisons in temporal and spatial terms that are crucial for understanding the autonomy of Hong Kong after 1997. These contributions do not simply reconfirm the disposition of local players to defend and assert their interests vis-a-vis the center; the discussion here also identifies factors shaping the manifestation of autonomy in the case of Hong Kong. Trust, reciprocity, agenda of the sovereign power, and resolution of conflict appear to be significant in shaping the outcome of centrea-periphery interaction. © The Author(s) 2010.

Research Area(s)

  • conflict resolution, judicial autonomy, reciprocity, trust