Reconciling Regional Autonomy with National Sovereignty: What Does China Mean to Hong Kong?

Simon Marsden

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    The focus of the chapter is upon constitutional foundations of autonomy in relation to questions of allegiance and identity, questions that may concern the identity of a territory within a state, as much as the people within that pledge their allegiance to that territory (and perhaps also to the state), by calling it home. While noting a developing literature in regard to social identities and implications for patriotism, reflected in particular in respect of Hong Kong Chinese permanent residents, the approach here is to look primarily at territorial competence as established and defined by the constitution of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (‘HKSAR’), the Basic Law. More specifically, the focus is upon the practical effects of this in connection with matters of key interest to Hong Kong and its people, in particular independent governance. Other contributions to this book share some of these constitutionally related concerns, although they may be philosophically or theoretically driven rather than framed by normative and political matters. The handover of Hong Kong by the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China (‘PRC’) confirms that physical movement of people is not a prerequisite for a change to, or confirmation of, allegiance and identity; a change in territorial sovereignty alone can do that. Questions of allegiance and identity permeate the Basic Law. These questions concern the relationship of Hong Kong residents with the HKSAR government, and between the HKSAR government and the Chinese Central People’s Government (‘CPG’). Since the handover of sovereignty of the former British Crown Colony to the PRC on 1 July 1997, the HKSAR has exercised a significant degree of civil, political and legal autonomy in relation to social and economic affairs. The Joint Declaration was originally signed as a bilateral agreement between the Governments of the United Kingdom and PRC, and established the basis for this autonomy. The Basic Law that followed provided the detailed constitutional framework for the HKSAR, including, significantly, its new and untested relationship with the mainland.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAllegiance and Identity in a Globalised World
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Number of pages17
    ISBN (Electronic)9781139696654
    ISBN (Print)9781107074330
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


    Dive into the research topics of 'Reconciling Regional Autonomy with National Sovereignty: What Does China Mean to Hong Kong?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this