Labour Markets In Hong Kong: Changes and Advances After The 1997 Reunification With China
Hong Kong is not an independent nation-state but a Special Administrative Region (SAR) belonging to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), yet enjoying a high level
of self-governing autonomy. It was previously a British colony, ceded by imperial Manchu China in 1842. However, the territory’s sovereignty was restored to the PRC in 1997, as mandated by the Joint Sino-British Declaration on the Future of Hong Kong of 1985, which guaranteed a continuance of the status quo, including Hong Kong’s capitalist institutions and its people’s lifestyle, for a period of 50 years after 1997. Given the socialist superstructure of the PRC, Hong Kong’s ‘hybrid’ reintegration with its motherland was legitimated by the ‘one country, two systems’ policy adopted by China as it began to embark upon a historic nationwide endeavour to reform its economy to emulate advanced capitalist states under the mixed label of ‘market socialism’. Hong Kong’s autonomy is in turn safeguarded constitutionally by the Basic Law, which the PRC promulgates. Such an instrument, tantamount to a constitution writ, bestows upon the citizens of the Hong Kong SAR certain civil liberties and freedoms, including the rights to work, to enter into employment, to associate, and to strike. By implication, a free labour market, subject to minimum state intervention, is to be sustained within the SAR.