Democratic development in Hong Kong

Democratic development in Hong Kong has been a major issue since the transfer of sovereignty to the People's Republic of China in 1997. The one country, two systems principle allows the Hong Kong government to administer all areas of government except foreign relations and (military) defence separately from the national Chinese government. Many Hong Kong citizens became concerned about democratic development when the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong Tung Chee-hwa appeared to have mishandled this issue. Other democracy-related issues involving human rights and universal suffrage (in this case the right to elect Hong Kong leaders through general elections under universal suffrage with no curtailment from the central government of China) became the new focal point for the pro-democracy camp. Attempts to bring Hong Kong citizens to the negotiating table by the British during the Sino-Anglo discussions were rejected by Beijing in the late 1980s. The last governor Chris Patten faced a great deal of opposition in changing the former colony's political system. However, China has been criticised for infringement of the "one country, two systems" policy.

Democratic development in Hong Kong
Part of Hong Kong–Mainland China conflict
Democracy protesters on 13 January 2008 demanding universal suffrage by 2012
Date1952 – ongoing
LocationHong Kong
ParticipantsHK Government, HK Legislative Council, pro-democracy camp, people of Hong Kong
Democratic development in Hong Kong
Traditional Chinese香港民主運動
Simplified Chinese香港民主运动
Hanyu PinyinXiānggǎng Mínzhǔ Yùndòng
Yale RomanizationHēung góng màhn jyú wahn duhng
JyutpingHoeng1 gong2 man4 zyu2 wan6 dung6

Since the succession of Xi Jinping as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and the election of Leung Chun-ying as Chief Executive in 2012, democratic development has come to a halt. The Umbrella Revolution was triggered by students disaffected by the continued stalling by Beijing, and particularly the pronouncement of the NPCSC on 31 August 2014 that said Hong Kong had to accept an electoral process for the Chief Executive in 2017 in which up to three candidates would be pre-approved by the Election Committee – an electoral college widely seen to be loyal to Beijing authorities.[1][2]

In March 2021, China's National People's Congress Standing Committee members voted in favour of amendments of the Hong Kong Basic Law Annex I and II to overhaul the electoral system. The amendments are widely seen as a move to further reduce the influence of the opposition pro-democracy camp in the wake of the widespread anti-government protests of 2019 and the electoral landslide of the 2019 District Council election.[3]