On 10 March 2005, Tung Chee Hwa, Hong Kong’s first Chief Executive following the departure of the Colonial Government on 1 July 1997, announced his resignation on the grounds of health problems.1 His resignation marked the end of the first phase (eight years) of the implementation of the “one country, two systems”. In his 2005 Policy Speech, Tung admitted certain weaknesses in his governance: “In retrospect, our mindset was inadequately prepared for the dual impacts of political change and economic downturn. Nor did we have the necessary experience to respond appropriately.”2 This timely self-criticism pointed to the very essence of the challenges and problems of governing Hong Kong under “one country, two systems”. Many policies initiated by Tung are considered to have fundamentally changed the core of Hong Kong’s economic interests. One such policy was the housing policy. According to a survey of 600 flat owners in sandwich-class housing (a type of government-built private housing), after the collapse of the property market in early 1998, a quarter had considered declaring bankruptcy. More than 55 per cent of the respondents had to use 40 to 80 per cent of their household income to pay for their mortgage.3 At the same time, education reforms created a huge burden for primary and secondary teachers. In addition, Tung’s methods of dealing with higher education, at one point, were considered as interfering with academic freedom. It was the first time in the history of Hong Kong that the Vice Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong had to face a public hearing which was broadcast simultaneously to the public.
Cheung, G. C. (2006). Hong Kong’s Information Technology after 1997 and the case of 3G Mobile Licences “Auction” in 2001. China (Singapore. Online), 4(2), 314-326. https://doi.org/10.1142/s0219747206000173