But China’s evolution under Xi Jinping is toward more centralization and authoritarianism with liberalization seen as a threat. Unfortunately, democracy in Hong Kong in recent years has not performed well in providing for critical municipal improvements for transportation, housing and land development, and education. Rather, political energy has been focused on procedural voting issues for the city’s chief executive. But China has made clear that neither the process nor the city’s policy will become more democratic or independent. Hong Kong’s local political gridlock has allowed Beijing to argue that democracy is a flawed and failing system.
During Xi’s first Hong Kong visit to the swearing-in of the new Beijing-favored chief executive, he made clear that the future of Hong Kong was an internal matter related to China’s sovereignty and security.
Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects Hong Kong garrison of the
People’s Liberation Army in Hong Kong, June 30, 2017 | Kim Cheung/AP
The future of Hong Kong’s democratic features and favored status will be greatly influenced by the test local democracy is facing. Can it reconcile its resistance elements to the more Beijing-leaning governing class and address basic problems or is decline of effective governance and quality of life its future?