Small Governing Coalition in Hong Kong and its Impact on Political Freedom
Hong Kong has seen an upheaval in recent years. From the protests over the extradition law to the protests over the National Security Law, these protests are a response to the ever-encroaching hand of Beijing on political rights in Hong Kong. After the National Security Law was implemented, Hong Kong’s freedom was almost gone. One by one, pro-democracy protesters, opposition parliament members, and opposition media are being targeted and repressed. Despite the numerous protests and riots, the Hong Kong SAR government perseveres with little concession to the protesters. Why does the government of Hong Kong decided not to respect Hong Kong’s unique democratic system in China, arguably the system that has brought Hong Kong to one of the most prominent cities in the world for global interactions, and instead wish to turn it into another normal Chinese city? Why does the Hong Kong SAR government almost completely ignore the voice of the Hong Kong people? Using the framework developed by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith in The Dictator’s Handbook, I argue that the small size of Hong Kong’s governing coalition (i.e., the minimum amount of support required for the leader to stay in power) and the ease in which the Chief Executive of Hong Kong rewards her allies play a significant role in this democratic backsliding. Furthermore, while the Western World reacted in outrage over this undemocratic encroachment of Beijing on Hong Kong, I argue that their sanctions on Hong Kong leaders will not play a significant role as the Chief Executive of Hong Kong does not need their support.
Keywords: Hong Kong; democracy; protests; governing coalition;sanctions
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