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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
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London, WC2A 2AE


Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Dr Fang-Long Shih

The Myth of Greater China? Hong Kong as a prototype of Taiwan for reunification

With Ms Jeanette Ka-yee Yuen (National Sun Yat-Sen University)

Series:  Regional comparison: Taiwan and Hong Kong in Comparative Perspective

Date: Thursday 13 December 2012, 6pm-8pm

Venue: Room TW1.2.01, Tower One, London School of Economics (LSE)

Chair: Dr Fang-Long Shih (Taiwan Research Programme)

Discussants: Professor Carol Jones (University of Wolverhampton); Professor Paul Morris (Institute of Education)


Following the hand-overs of Hong Kong (1997) and Macau (1999), China has expressed a strong urge to reunify its 'lost places' in order to form a 'Greater China'. In particular, China has paid considerable attention to achieving future reunification with Taiwan, whether politically or economically, and it has already implemented strategies and policies towards this end. Taking reunification with Hong Kong as its model, China hopes to demonstrate to Taiwan a harmonious picture of peaceful unification, emphasizing Hong Kong’s political stability and economic prosperity. The 'One Country Two Systems' strategy promises a high level of autonomy and economic integration, stressing mutual economic advantage. The Taiwanese government in turn seems to be ready to establish a closer relationship with China, as was shown clearly by the decision to sign the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in 2010, and many people in Taiwan welcome the '10 golden years' which it is hoped will follow.

However, it is also argued in Taiwan that the Hong Kong model has had only superficial success within a limited scope, confined to short-term economic advantage. Critics argue that the example of Hong Kong in fact demonstrates a fundamental failure, due to contrasting social values. The concept of 'One Country Two Systems' is seen as fallacious, no longer guaranteeing autonomy and political stability, and its short-term economic benefits have failed to dispel concern and apprehension in Taiwan regarding autonomy, the rule of law, and the political system. In addition, recent decades have seen the consolidation of Taiwan as a nation, with a stronger sense of Taiwanese identity. This, and the process of democratization, are also impediments to future unification.

About the Speaker

Ms Jeanette Ka-yee Yuen received her MSc in Social and Cultural Theory at the University of Bristol and she currently is a PhD Candidate at the Institute of China and Asia-Pacific Studies at National Sun Yat-Sen University, Taiwan. Her research interests include political identity, civil society, migration issues, and political issues relating to Hong Kong and Taiwan.

About the Discussants

Professor Carol Jones is based at the University of Wolverhampton's School of Law, Social Sciences and Communications, and she previously held a Chair in Law at the University of Glamorgan. She has worked in Hong Kong, and has been a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. Professor Jones is an expert in socio-legal studies, and her first book, Expert Witnesses: science, medicine and the practice of law (1994) won the Hart prize for best book in Socio-Legal Studies. She has since become a specialist in East Asia, and she is the co-author of Criminal Justice in Hong Kong (2007). She is currently writing a book about law and order in China.

Professor Paul Morris joined the Institute of Education in 2007. Prior to this, he was Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong from 1986 to 1993 and President of the Hong Kong Institute of Education from 2002. He leads an International Network funded by the Leverhulme Foundation, titled ‘Japan and East Asian Identities Education Network’, which brings together researchers from UK, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore. He is also currently involved in analysing how policy borrowing is used in the process of education policy making in the UK, as well as various issues related to Citizenship Education and the process of national identity formation, especially in East Asia. He is the co-author of Curriculum, Schooling & Society in Hong Kong (2010).