Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Benny Tai on Round Three of Hong Kong's Constitutional Game (HKLJ)

"Round Three of Hong Kong's Constitutional Game: From Semi-Democracy to Semi-Authoritarianism"
Benny YT Tai
Hong Kong Law Journal
Vol 49, Part 1 of 2019, pp 335-356
Abstract: A game-analytical framework is used to understand the constitutional development of Hong Kong. The constitutional game of Hong Kong has entered into Round Three. The theme for Round Three is “from semi-democracy to semi-authoritarianism”. The existing game-field is neither genuinely democratic nor totally authoritarian. The Civil Society of Hong Kong, a key game player, adopted a new strategy to put pressure on the Central Government (CG) aiming to transform the game-field from semi-democratic to genuinely democratic. A large-scale civil disobedience movement by occupying main streets at the heart of the city was organised in 2014. The CG, the most powerful and resourceful game player, responded by blocking Hong Kong’s road to democracy. The CG worries that Hong Kong could be used as a subversive base to threaten its rule in the Mainland if democratic elections were to be fully implemented. The game-field is further transformed by the CG from semi-democratic to semi-authoritarian. The Opposition, the Legislative Council, the Courts and the Civil Society of Hong Kong are weakened so that the Chief Executive under the direction of the CG could have a free hand to gain legitimacy through implementing policies to improve people’s livelihood. The voices demanding for democracy might then be silenced. This article analyses how these changes happened and illustrates how these changes may affect all the players in the next round of the constitutional game.

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