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Special Feature

Executive-legislative Disconnection in Post-colonial Hong Kong:

The dysfunction of the HKSAR’s executive-dominant system, 1997-2012
Brian C. H. Fong
p. 5-12


During the British colonial days, Hong Kong’s system of governance was usually described as an “executive-dominant system.” When crafting Hong Kong’s post-colonial political order in the 1980s, the Chinese leaders decided to maintain this executive-dominant style of governance in the HKSAR. Nevertheless, in spite of a wide range of constitutional powers conferred upon the Chief Executive by the Basic Law as well as the installation of a pro-government majority in the Legislative Council, unlike its colonial predecessor, the HKSAR government struggles to maintain its dominant position vis-à-vis the legislature over policy-making. This article attributes the dysfunction of the executive-dominant system after 1997 to Beijing’s resistance to the development of party-based government in Hong Kong. By marginalising political parties in the organisation and policy-making process of the HKSAR government, the executive and legislature have become disconnected since 1997, and the coalition between the non-partisan Chief Executive and pro-government parties remains fragile. In order to get Hong Kong out of the existing political quagmire, the development of some form of party-based government in Hong Kong is a critical issue that the Chinese government and the HKSAR government must confront.

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Bibliographical reference

Brian C. H. Fong, « Executive-legislative Disconnection in Post-colonial Hong Kong: », China Perspectives, 2014/1 | 2014, 5-12.

Electronic reference

Brian C. H. Fong, « Executive-legislative Disconnection in Post-colonial Hong Kong: », China Perspectives [Online], 2014/1 | 2014, Online since 01 January 2017, connection on 07 May 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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About the author

Brian C. H. Fong

Brian C. H. Fong, PhD, is Assistant Professor at the Department of Asian and Policy Studies, Hong Kong Institute of Education. He specialises in public governance and legislative studies.Room B2-2F-41, 10 Lo Ping Road, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong (

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