Hong Kong’s elections: Testing democratic reform in China

Voters line up outside a polling station in Hong Kong

In this episode of “Intersections”, Richard Bush, senior fellow and director of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies (CEAP), and Cheng Li, senior fellow and director of the John L. Thornton China Center, discuss the recent elections in Hong Kong, what its one country, two systems governance policy means for its relationship with China, and democratic reform movements there and in Taiwan.

According to Li, China’s top leaders are currently putting emphasis “on nationalism, on economic, development, on environmental protection, but sooner or later they need to deal with the mature middle class and the demand to find a representative government to reflect the different interest groups in society.”

“Ultimately, if you want to run modern Chinese cities in a more democratic way, they can use electoral reform in Hong Kong to get the bugs out and then sort of assimilate those techniques into China. It’s a Chinese society, it’s relatively stable, it’s not like adopting the US system or the UK system; it’s adopting a Chinese system,” suggests Bush.

Related links: 

Hong Kong in the Shadow of China: Living with the Leviathan
Why Hong Kong’s next election really matters
How China’s Leaders are ‘Empowering the Very People They Fear’ in Hong Kong
Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership

With thanks to audio engineer Mark Hoelscher, Vanessa Sauter, Basseem Maleki, Fred Dews, and Richard Fawal.

Questions? Comments? Email us at [email protected].