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Title: Autonomous non-central governments in the international system : the case of Hong Kong
Author: Neves, Miguel
ISNI:       0000 0001 3442 4731
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2003
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The thesis analyses the evolution of Hong Kong as an autonomous international actor and how that has been sustained under Chinese sovereignty, in the context of the wider debate on paradiplomacy and the increasing international participation of Non-Central Governments (NCG). The opening chapter offers a review of the literature on non-state actors (NSA) and emphasises the limitations of the new literature on NCGs that emerged in the 1990s which fails to deal with the heterogeneity of NCGs, the specific characteristics that differentiate them from other NSA and their impact on the international system. The next two chapters examine the factors behind the process of HK’s emergence as an international player in the early 1960s: textile trade interests and reaction to proteccionism; HK elite bureaucracy legitimisation strategy; flexibility of the international system for what accounted the Dominions’ historical precedent and the pragmatic interests of influential states. HK’s emergence as an international financial centre, the development of a system of external representation in the 1970s and the creation of the new framework for external relations inserted in the 1984 Joint Declaration, further contributed to consolidate and expand HK’s autonomy into new areas, including political ones, at the same time they introduced a note of ambiguity in HK’s international status. Fresh insights into the negotiation of the JD international affairs chapter are offered. Chapter Four examines HK’s post-1997 implementation of the new external relations’ framework and how far external autonomy was preserved demonstrating that the level of external autonomy HK enjoys is determined not merely by the relation with the Central Government but by the interplay between this, HK’s own strategy and actions and the attitude of external players. The logic of “autonomy cum isolation” that prevails in HK-Beijing relations, deviant practices concerning “specific authorisations” and excessive govemmentalisation of external affairs are identified as the main risks for future autonomy in a context where the SAR has been able to preserve the core of its external autonomy in relation to China. Chapter Five deals with HK’s legitimacy basis and sources of influence as an international player looking at its participation in WTO. To assert its influence HK uses not one but a combination of sources of influence, namely technical expertise, economic power, and above all the performance of a systemic broker role associated with its dual identity. The final chapter discusses the research results and concludes that, unlike other NCG, HK has been able to have a direct impact on the international system, namely through the participation in the process of international rules-making in trade and financial matters. This capacity is determined by the triangle “external autonomy-legitimacy-influence” which conditions the ability of NCG to take advantage of the opportunities created by the globalisation-localisation process to enhance their international role and contribute to a better global governance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: JZ International relations