Factionalism and Chinese-style democracy: the 2017 Hong Kong Chief Executive election
Sonny Shiu-Hing Lo
Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, 2017, vol. 39, issue 2, 100-119
The 2017 Chief Executive election in Hong Kong demonstrated the severity of factional politics in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, where the pro-democracy faction has been struggling for power against the pro-Beijing camp. It also showed Mainland China’s emphasis on the centralist aspect of the principle of democratic centralism in which the Hong Kong Chief Executive was elected by a relatively small group of elites, most of whom were under the influence of Beijing. The Chinese-style of democracy was reflected in the desire of Mainland officials and the pro-Beijing press to ensure the easy victory of Carrie Lam, who was the only candidate from the pro-Beijing faction. The efforts of Beijing and its agents to secure Lam’s victory pervaded the pre-nomination, nomination, campaign and election, and post-election stages of the electoral process. The process highlighted the uneasiness of China in possibly having to deal with an uncertain outcome of a limitedly pluralistic electoral experience.
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