A System Apart: Hong Kong’s Political Economy from 1997 till Now

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Convener: China Centre

Speaker: Simon Cartledge

Since 1997, Hong Kong's economic growth rate has dropped sharply, inequality has increased, and corruption has found its way to the highest levels of government. These developments, Simon Cartledge argues, can be attributed to the city's 'pro-business' constitution, which has held back change and led to the rise of an anti-establishment, localist opposition. A System Apart traces the interplay of Hong Kong's economy, society, politics and relations with the rest of China over the last twenty years. It concludes that the city needs to remodel its political structure and make its government accountable to its citizens, as was promised when the UK returned the territory to China two decades ago. 

Simon Cartledge is the founder of the Hong Kong-based publishing and research company Big Brains and a former Editor-in-Chief, Asia for the Economist Intelligence Unit. He has lived in Hong Kong for more than twenty-five years.