2008 Abstracts Stage 2

Capitalist Hong Kong – Model or Threat to China?

Sophia Wade, 2008, Stage 2

Project Territory: China and its special administrative region, Hong Kong. Areas of Investigation: One country – two systems – to try to preserve the economic and political strengths that Hong Kong had built up and to maintain its capitalist free market, Hong Kong was offered the option of setting up a ‘one country, two systems’ policy – giving Hong Kong a great degree of autonomy from China. Capitalist paradise, communist paradise? Capitalism in Hong Kong has developed since the Second World War, and the region is now known to be a leading example of a laissez-faire capitalist economy. Attracting mainland Chinese and expatriates from afar, Hong Kong’s entrepreneurs over the last few decades have made extreme achievements. In opposition to Hong Kong’s capitalism, China’s Communist Party is the world’s largest political party. After the ‘May Fourth’ anti-imperialist movement in 1919, Marxist ideas began diffusing throughout China. Today though, the question that has to be asked is whether China is now a communist, socialist, nationalist or even capitalist society. Western Hong Kong, Eastern China. China has been much longer in development than Hong Kong has if the start of Hong Kong’s true development is considered to have begun only when the British gained control of it. Before this time, Hong Kong was, compared to the size of China, an insignificant port on China’s South coast. It can be said then, that Hong Kong has a more Western development behind it, while China, obviously had an Eastern viewpoint behind its development. Philosophical Ideas: John Locke – liberalism in relation to Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ method of government. Karl Marx – capitalism and communism, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The Communist Manifesto in relation to the governing principles of China. Max Weber – Weber’s connection between religion and economics and a brief look at his discussion of an ideal type of capitalism. Guy Debord – modern lives being invaded by the ‘spectacle’ and our passivity towards our own existences. This is related to China’s lack of freedom of speech and no free press forcing passivity onto the Chinese population. Conclusion: Hong Kong took risks – risks that worked to Hong Kong’s advantage – however, as the term ‘risk’ suggests, Hong Kong’s actions could just have easily made the region head down another road completely. Today, Hong Kong is not taking risks, but under the risk of China’s influence. Is Hong Kong a model or a threat to China? – The question may have to be reversed to China – model or threat to Hong Kong?

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