Staple of Hong Kong Political Studies

Karl Ho

University of Texas at Dallas

Prepared for presentation at the Conference on Hong Kong Politics, Princeton University, November 3-4, 2023


  • Encyclopedia of East Asian Politics 2023

    • Concept

    • Landscape

    • Outlook

  • Comparatives

  • What is next?

Big picture

  • Recent Developments

    • Economic freedom,  political landscape and civil society
      • Capitalist structure, adjacency to biggest economy
      • Political landscape: generally free but definitely not democratic

      • Mandate Discrepancy and civil society

Change from Beijing

  • Tensions between the population and the governments in Hong Kong and Beijing mount from the deficit of mandate without a fully representative system, as local political scientist Ma Ngok terms the “deep legitimacy and governance crisis” (2007).

  • “relative deprivation” --> problems of legitimacy and weakened state capacity


The study of Hong Kong politics is a dynamic and rapidly evolving field, with many gaps and opportunities for future research. The most recent political events open new avenues of studying and understanding Hong Kong’s unique political roles and its changes mixing democratic developments and authoritarian rules. Accelerated growth of new research about Hong Kong contributes to the literature of multiple disciplines in both size and diversity. It presents a very special case to help further understanding of political development, democratization, and civil society in a hybrid regime.

Future Research suggestions

  1. COVID and stringent policy on political development

  2. Migration and demographic change

  3. Civil society and social movements

  4. Basic law and judicial system

  5. Regional integration

  6. Media ecosystem


  • Three laws of dynamics 

    • In the first law, an object will not change its motion unless a force acts on it.

    • In the second law, the force on an object is equal to its mass times its acceleration.

    • In the third law, when two objects interact, they apply forces to each other of equal magnitude and opposite direction.

  • When there are changes and differences, there will be staple for Hong Kong political studies.


Taiwan Hong Kong
Support Government Non-government
Discourses Democracy, Taiwan China relations Social movement, civil society, diaspora
Data TEDS, TNSS, funded surveys novel data
Events APSA, local conferences

Thank you!

Staple of Hong Kong Political Studies

By Karl Ho

Staple of Hong Kong Political Studies

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