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Functional Constituencies

A Unique Feature of the Hong Kong Legislative Council (with CD)

Edited by Christine Loh

Publication Year: 2006

The book provides detailed information on: the relevant law of functional constituencies, their place in the Basic Law and with respect to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, their history, a full list of functional constituencies and the size and make-up of their electorates including how certain major companies may control large numbers of votes.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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pp. vii-xii

CDROM Contents

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p. xiii-xiii

Tables and figures

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pp. xiv-xvi

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pp. xvii-xviii

Civic Exchange embarked on a research project to study functional constituencies in 2004 with the aim of helping the public understand more fully an important part of Hong Kong’s political and electoral systems. Although functional constituencies were first created in 1985, we found they were seriously under-researched. We felt that it was time to make a concerted effort to look...

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pp. xix-xxii

The association is an independent, non-governmental organisation with a membership of more than 22,000 lawyers, judges, prosecutors, law professors and government officials, principally from New York City but also from throughout the United States and from at least 40 other countries. Founded in 1870 to combat corruption in the judiciary, the association has a long history of...

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pp. 1-18

For a city as sophisticated as Hong Kong, to be discussing the merits of indirect elections and functional constituencies (FCs) as an alternative to universal suffrage seems absurd. No other community as prosperous and pluralistic as Hong Kong in today’s world is burdened with such a relic of 19th century imperialism as a substitute for a directly elected legislature. For Hong Kong’s...

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CHAPTER 1: Government and business alliance: Hong Kong’s functional constituencies

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pp. 19-40

Since 1979, when China began its economic reform, Hong Kong has had a key role in the reintroduction of capitalism to the Mainland by providing investment and management. The ‘one country, two systems’ policy was devised to enable the post-1997 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to keep its ‘previous capitalist system and way of life’ for...

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CHAPTER 2: Business friendly and politically convenient — the historical role of functional constituencies

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pp. 41-58

Functional constituencies have had a long and controversial history in Hong Kong. Even after the British had conceded the right to democracy and directly-elected legislatures throughout the rest of their Asian empire,1 they were not ready to extend universal suffrage to Hong Kong, a reluctance that was to be shared by China’s leaders. The British preference was for indirectly-elected functional...

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CHAPTER 3: Privileged to vote: Inequalities and anomalies of the FC system

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pp. 59-110

The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region(LegCo) uses an electoral system known as functional constituencies (FCs) to elect half of its members. The system confers a right to vote on a small percentage of the adult population based on membership or registration in a recognised social, economic, industrial, commercial, political advisory, or...

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CHAPTER 4: Elected by the elite: Functional constituency legislators and elections

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pp. 111-142

This chapter1 explores the functional constituency (FC) system from the perspective of its legislators and elections. FC legislators are a rare breed because of their origins in a unique electoral system. Candidates must satisfy many eligibility preconditions in order to qualify for FC election. One of the most important preconditions, which applies to all but 12 of the FCs, is the requirement that the...

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CHAPTER 5: The legal status of functional constituencies

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pp. 143-154

From a legal and constitutional standpoint, the system of functional constituencies(FCs) in the Legislative Council (LegCo) as presently established is inconsistent with provisions of the Basic Law which expressly import the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or ICCPR. As such, the governments of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the...

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CHAPTER 6: Comparative profiles and attitudes of FC voters versus GC voters in the 2004 LegCo election campaign

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pp. 155-198

In a first in Hong Kong political studies, the Hong Kong Transition Project (HKTP) and Civic Exchange have compiled a comprehensive picture of functional constituency voters.1 The key findings of this comparative voting sector research are that Hong Kong’s increasingly contentious politics appear to be strongly connected to feelings of unfair influence stemming from the grossly inequitable voting power...

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CHAPTER 7: The dynamics of social policy making in Hong Kong: The role of functional representatives (1998–2004)

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pp. 199-264

In October 2004, Civic Exchange commissioned the authors to conduct a study of the roles of functional constituency representatives (FRs1) in social policy-making in Hong Kong between 1998 and 2004. This chapter reports on the findings of the study. As a two-pronged approach has been adopted to understand and capture the dynamics in social policy making, this report is organised accordingly. Part I...

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CHAPTER 8: The contribution of the functional constituencies to economic policy in Hong Kong, 2000–2004

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pp. 265-282

This chapter examines the influence of the 30 Legislative Councillors elected by functional constituencies on key elements of economic policy during the 2000–2004 session, as evidenced, mainly, by their stances taken in debates within the Legislative Council (LegCo) chamber.1 On balance, functional constituency (FC) members are found to have pressed, first and foremost, their constituency interests, and secondarily, in the...

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CHAPTER 9: Non-positive interventionism: How functional constituencies distort the free market

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pp. 283-310

It is not the first time this sort of thing has been heard from Hong Kong’s tycoons. They say that Hong Kong is different from other places because it is an ‘economic city’2 and, therefore, political models used elsewhere do not apply to Hong Kong. Those arguing this point of view insist that in Hong Kong, business must have an appropriate representation and any attempt...

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CHAPTER 10: ‘One person, one vote’: The US electoral system and the functional constituencies

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pp. 311-324

We, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, view certain developments in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China (HKSAR) with great concern, in particular, the regressive interpretations of the Basic Law by the central government of China in April 2004 by which it pre-empted the question of whether there is a ‘need to amend’ the Basic Law regarding the election of the...

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CONCLUSION: Functional constituencies: The way forward

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pp. 325-340

Governments are indispensable for all societies. They form an important framework within which we all live and work. The quality of government affects the quality of our lives and well-being. Governments have power to make laws, collect taxes, issue money, defend the territory, conduct foreign relations, keep public order, punish crime, arbitrate, allocate resources, provide public services,...


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pp. 341-342


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pp. 343-390

E-ISBN-13: 9789882203693
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622097902

Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 2006

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Elections -- China -- Hong Kong.
  • Hong Kong. Legislative Council -- Elections.
  • Hong Kong (China) -- Politics and government -- 1997-.
  • Functional representation.
  • Election law -- China -- Hong Kong.
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