Hong Kong: Still One Country, Two Systems?
In the last month, Hong Kong has seen mass demonstrations and tensions as great as any since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China. The cause: anger over Beijing’s ruling on how Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive will be elected. At the time of the 1997 handover, China pledged that by 2017 the people of Hong Kong would have the right to vote for their Chief Executive. In August of this year, Beijing ruled that while all the people of Hong Kong could vote, China would determine who the candidates were. Pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong saw this decision as Beijing reneging on a promise — an empty election with candidates that do not represent them. Beijing and the current Chief Executive, C.Y. Leung, insist that the decision conforms to Hong Kong’s Basic Law framework, which serves as the legal foundation for the city. The demonstrators have appealed to President Xi Jinping to revisit the process, though experts say it is highly unlikely Beijing will give in to their demands.
No matter the outcome of these demonstrations, divisions in Hong Kong’s society have been laid bare. Beyond the election process — many in Hong Kong fear losing their unique status under the concept of "One Country, Two Systems." Others fear damage may be done to Hong Kong’s status as a free-wheeling global financial center. Join us for a discussion on the root causes that have led to the demonstrations and what the future holds in store for Hong Kong.
Ho-Fung Hung, Sociologist and Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University
S. Alice Mong, Executive Director, Asia Society Hong Kong (via Skype)
Orville Schell (moderator), Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations, Asia Society
Fred Teng, CEO, NewsChina Magazine
Ishaan Tharoor, Reporter, the Washington Post
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