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The Partnership Between the Chinese Government and Hong Kong’s Capitalist Class: Implications for HKSAR Governance, 1997-2012

The Partnership Between the Chinese Government and Hong Kong’s Capitalist Class: Implications for HKSAR Governance, 1997-2012

2014 March

Existing literature has long recognised that a partnership has been forged between the PRC government and Hong Kong’s capitalist class. However, the implications of such a partnership for HKSAR governance have yet to be thoroughly explored. By examining the formation of this partnership and its consolidation after 1997, this article argues that the business sector’s direct access to the sovereign state has fundamentally changed the dynamics of state-business relations in the HKSAR. As a consequence of the partnership between Beijing and the business sector, business elites have taken their concerns straight to the mainland authorities whenever they see their interests affected by the post-colonial state. This kind of cicumvention has become a part of post-1997 politics, undermining the relative autonomy of the post-colonial state and resulting in growing cleavages within the state-business alliance during the first 15 years of the HKSAR. Whether and how such a partnership will evolve in the aftermath of the 2012 chief executive election remains to be seen.

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