One Country, Two Systems

The recent up rise in Hong Kong in regards to its “one country, two systems” Policy. Hong Kong has belonged to since China resumed sovereignty in 1999. Unlike the remainder of China, Hong Kong maintains an independent judiciary. Citizens are governed by a mini constitution. This grants them basic civil liberties, such as freedom of speech. This recent rise up has emerged from large concern that Beijing will eventually eliminate the two-system model in Hong Kong and impose communist ideologies on their people. It seems to the protest is growing and gaining more support. This sort of uprising is a threat to China’s government. Many are speculating the position the United States will take on this particular issue. US secretary of state John Kerry on Wednesday calls for Hong Kong to show restraint toward pro-democracy protesters. Tensions have grown throughout the years between the two states, and this could eventually turn out to another war that deals with distribution of power. The last thing the American people need is another situation like cold war.

A great deal of the issue has been blamed upon the Hong Kong current chief executive, Leung Chun-Ying. He was appointed by the Beijing government, and are relying on him to suppress the pro-democracy protests. In regards to Leung, Jin Zhong, editor of open magazine stated, “The biggest problem the Hong Kong people have against Leung Chun-Ying is that he was not democratically elected,” said Jin Zhong, editor of Open Magazine, a Hong Kong publication on politics and society. “The Hong Kong people see him as a puppet of the party. He’s very close to the party, and so are his policies.” Leung has acknowledged the fact this issue will be going on for quite some time. Leung continues to stand firm though and shows no interest in allowing a true democracy to flourish in Hong Kong. He stands as a middleman between the Hong Kong people and the Beijing government. Many question whether the Chinese government plans to sacrifice him and his position to appease the people.

This issue brings up the concern of the cold war known as polarity, which focuses on the distribution of power. Before the Cold war began in in 1945, the United States was labeled as being a unipolar system in which one state exercises most of the cultural, economic, and military influence. One can rationalize that the United States for a long period of time was still considered a unipolar system. Many fear that the issue in Hong Kong is going to be war between bipolar systems. We viewed an example of this between the United States and Russia during the Cold War. China has been labeled as being effective in increasing its power in the international community. It has had a significant role in large corporations of the United States. Many corporations such as Apple have taken their business to China. The majority of U.S products are made and exported from China. So in other words participating in the political dispute between Hong Kong and China can negatively impact the United States economy and business markets.

For many years now, optimists have seen Hong Kong’s present as China’s future. Hong Kong’s political system is supposed to be a guide for a liberalizing China. According to the Washington Post, this issue will test whether that narrative has any truth or if the former British colony will remain a thorny exception to a Chinese leadership wholly bent on consolidating its grip on power.The Dispute in Hong Kong will ultimately demonstrate in what direction the relationship between the U.S and China will take, and whether the U.S will have a new International Power to compete with in the future.


6 thoughts on “One Country, Two Systems

  1. I had no idea that Hong Kong and the rest of China were operating under different systems. It seems that conflict is inevitable then, and should have been seen as an obvious tension. Why exactly are thee two separate systems? It seems Hong Kong stayed more liberalized for trade benefits, which helped put China as a superpower. In any case then, it seems like a negative idea to combine into one system due to the impending criticism, loss of capital, and etc.


    • Hong Kong was a colony of Great Britain since the Opium Wars in 1842, and effectively controlled it until 1997. Thus, Hong Kong is less a region of China that is more democratized than it is a former colony like Malaysia or Burma that must now reconcile its differences. As part of Britain, Hong Kong enjoyed extensive liberal policies, making it very wealthy despite its size. Since returning to China, the tensions that were mentioned arose, and now the question is how to resolve the issue of a semi-democratic specially administered region in a communist country.


  2. I am very curious to see how China reacts in the future, and how much force they are willing to exert to stop the protests and pro-democratic sentiment. I read from another article that some links between certain Americans and funds towards the Hong Kong protesters have been found, so that certainly makes things a lot more interesting as well.


  3. For a long time Hong Kong was a boon for the Chinese government who relied on the small pseudo city state for foreign investment. However in recent years the mainland of China has seen substantial growth threatening Hong Kong’s formerly considerable leverage. Without this bargaining chip Hong Kong may very well fall into more direct control of Beijing, threatening the very existence of the two systems.


    • I think Jesse makes an important point that would act as a strong addition to this blog post. However I think it must be noted that despite the fact that the Chinese government no longer relies as much on Hong Kong and has seen a substantial growth, Hong Kong still is an extremely important city to China and the Chinese mainlanders economically, educationally, and for consumerism purposes. Although it may be easier for China to make these threats, upsetting the system might not be in their best interest. For instance, many Chinese students apply to study at U.S. universities, which means taking the SAT. The SAT is not offered on mainland China, well it is but only at international schools, so thousands of mainland students come to Hong Kong each year to take the test. Of course this is only one very specific example, overall, threatening Hong Kong’s system and increasing Beijing’s influence will not only affect Hong Kong but mainlanders as well making it a bit riskier than one would think to threaten the two systems.

      This youtube clip is a 3 min piece about mainlanders traveling to Hong Kong to take the SAT test. It is rather interesting in my opinion so you guys should check it out even if you’re not reading this comment. Although I am unfamiliar with the news source, I have seen a similar news piece on this in my World Cities class last year. I unfortunately couldn’t find that same video and figured this would do.


  4. Even though China keeps putting such effort to suppress pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong, it seems it won’t be easy. People in Hong Kong have been used to liberalized culture without control of China, so they will keep asking for sovereignty and autonomy. The intereting thing is the current protest in Hong Kong is closely related to its diplomatic relations with other states such as U.K, the U.S and so on. Depending on how these two countries China and Hong Kong react, it will affect global situation.


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