Hong Kong SAR, China flag Hong Kong SAR, China: Economic and Political Overview

The political framework of Hong Kong SAR, China

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
Head of State: President of China, Xi Jinping (since 14 March 2013) - Chinese Communist Party
Chief Executive: Carrie Lam (since 1 July 2017)
Next Election Dates
President: March 2023
Chief Executive: 2022
Legislative Council: 2021
Current Political Context
Since the national security law took force in 2020, the culmination of years long efforts, Beijing has deployed a series of actions to bring Hong Kong into political lockstep with the Chinese Communist Party, a move reinforced in 2021.
An overhaul of Hong Kong's electoral system, including the Legislative Council, is imminent after the National People's Assembly of China passed a resolution on Hong Kong electoral reforms in March 2021. The reform plans to increase the number of seats (70 to 90), but to reduce the number of those who are directly elected (35 to 20), without any coming from the local council. The electoral committee will elect 40 seats, while 30 will remain functional trade-based constituencies. There will also be a new process for examining potential candidates for parliamentary elections.
Main Political Parties
Hong Kong is not independent from Chinese politics. As such, there are no governing political parties. Legislative matters are largely carried out through the business or professional sectors; political parties will often officially register under the auspices of a company or business corporation. The main parties:

- Democratic Alliance for Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB): centre to centre-right, conservative, pro-government
- Business and Professional Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA): conservative,liberal
- The Democratic Party: centre-left, pro-democracy
- Liberal Party (LP): centre-right, pro-business
- Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKCTU): liberal, pro-government
- Civic Party (CP): social-liberal , constitutionalist.
- New People's Party (NPP): Conservatist
- Professional Commons (PC): Liberal
- Labour Party
: Environmentalist, Social Democracy
- New Territories Association of Societies (NTAS): Chinese Nationalist, Conservatist
Executive Power
The territory is governed by a Chief Executive, elected for five years by a college of 1,200 large voters including parliamentarians, eminent personalities and representatives of the professional sectors. Chief Executive represents Hong Kong to the authorities of the People's Republic of China.

The government answers to the Chief Executive and is composed of 12 ministers (Secretaries) who are assisted by 17 senior functionaries who hold the title of "Permanent Secretaries". In hierarchical order, the three main government posts are the Chief Secretary (who is second to the Chief Executive), the Financial Secretary and the Secretary for Justice. If the Chief Executive is unable to conduct his functions temporarily, they will be conducted in this order of precedence by the title holders of the main posts.

In addition, the Chief Executive is assisted by an Executive Council or Exco which includes the government ministers and 15 non-official members who are parliamentarians nominated by the Chief Executive; personalities from the business world or from civil companies. The Exco serves as the Council of Ministers by being the venue for formulation of government's policies. This council is consulted for all important political decisions. It meets once a week, under the chairmanship of the Chief Executive who should specially justify his decisions in case of disagreement with the majority of its members.

Legislative Power
The unicameral legislative power is conferred to a Legislative Council. The Legislative Council is composed of 70 members elected for 4 years, with 35 Members returned by geographical constituencies through direct elections, and 35 Members by functional constituencies. The President of the Legislative Council is elected by and from among Members of the Legislative Council.

The council votes for and amends laws and can also introduce any new proposal. It examines and approves the budget, taxes and public expenditure, appoints the judges for the Court of Final Appeal and the President of the High Court. It is also responsible for monitoring the conduct of the Chief Executive and ensuring the Government appropriately applies its policy. The absence of political responsibility of the ministers can make the Legislative Council limit the control exercised by this assembly on the executive power.

Members are on the Council for four years. The Government is dependent on parliament's support, which is often given through a vote of confidence. The Chief Executive does not have the power to dissolve the parliament. He cannot refuse to sign a bill which has been voted in by two-thirds of the parliament.

 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
80/180

Source: World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders

 

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Latest Update: June 2022

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