Heng Loong Cheong
Clifford Chance, London
[Article prepared as term paper for the degree of MA in Chinese Studies, School of Oriental Studies, University of London]
[Paper in an earlier form may be found at the following web address -http://www.enstar.net/china/law/vm_articles/items/item5.htm]
[Paper to be published in the forthcoming spring issue of the UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs]
HONG KONG SAR: AUTONOMY WITHIN INTEGRATION?
This paper will review the relationship between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“HKSAR”) and the rest of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). It will examine the concept of balancing the autonomy of the HKSAR with its integration into the PRC. The dual issues of autonomy within integration are played out within the provisions of the Basic Law but they are in no way resolved within the confines of this legislation. Needless to say one needs to look beyond the Basic Law to comprehend the issues of autonomy and integration :
“For an adequate study of constitutions, indeed of any law, one has to establish a framework broader than the law itself……….The way in which apparently neutral concepts and rules operate may be determined by the underlying economic or political power of the parties who use them……The formal provisions of a constitution may not even hint at the actual repository of power or the manner of its exercise.”
The first part of this paper will consider the issue of autonomy from a Chinese perspective. The Chinese idea of autonomy is inextricably linked to the idea of integration within a ‘unitary multi-national state’ and the HKSAR formed on the basis of “upholding (the) national unity and territorial integrity” of the PRC is the latest addition to the Chinese unitary state . Whilst the idea of integration certainly allows for some autonomy, it is important to realise that it is the former concept which appears to take precedence in Chinese legislation as well as...