The paper "One Country - Two Political Systems: Hong Kong's Ability to Provide Local Self-Government or Launch Reforms under Chinese Administrative System" is a wonderful example of a political article. Throughout the content, article discusses the reality of ‘one country, two systems’ approach to Hong Kong situation under Chinese ity. In particular, it accentuates on the importance of Hong Kong’s example, because it shows the very ability of central authority to provide local self-government for regions or launch certain reforms under Chinese administrative system. For this aim, Pepper discusses the situation with delegate selection in Hong Kong. In this context, he noticed the way this procedure changed in details in Special Administrative District but remained the same in as the whole. For example, the elections in 1997 had both similarities and differences to mainland practice under 1995 Electoral Law. By being alike in inability to vote “against” the candidate, it had first-past-the-post approach, secret ballot system and other modifications. (p. 323). In addition, the practice of these elections was more complex because of pressure from China on who exactly should take part in the case of Hong Kong. In this context, the author questions the role of Electoral Conference, since its “conference members were drawn from ‘old’ patriotic core and its ‘new’ pro-China periphery” (p. 331). With the all-inclusive influence of this institution on Hong Kong’s political future, the political struggle between new pro-democratic and pro-Chinese parties were not equal by default. Finally, the analysis of delegates’ activity on their position revealed close ties between Hong Kong’s NPC delegates and its Legislative Council complicates the distinction between two systems (p. 337). Due to this, the practice of ‘one country, two systems’ design in terms of functions is doubtful, as local delegates have close ties to center authorities. Resulting from these processes, Pepper concludes his article by stating, “Two systems becoming one” (p. 341) through bridging administrative mechanisms.
Among the most interesting parts of this article, the discussion of the activity of the most influential politicians in Hong Kong government is the most interesting one. In detail, Pepper picks four candidates in 1997 elections. With the help of these examples, he illustrates his main idea of controversy and lack of confidence in the sustainability of Hong Kong special status. This idea is interesting, because in this section author changes his argumentation from general overview to concrete cases. Among them, personality of Liang Enzhu is the most influential one, since this man was a number one candidate regardless to the method of elections. In my opinion, he revealed the easiness to mocker ‘two systems’ design. In particular, he wanted to “be wearing two hats,” meaning ambitions to be both “center’s representative in Hong Kong and the latter’s representative at the center” (p. 327). In this context, the very personality of Liang Enzhu illustratively shows that electoral rules in Hong Kong make it hard to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ approach. In general, his behavior and the result of election make it evident that Chinese central government has left enough space to for maneuvering, which discredits the practical functioning of Hong Kong autonomy significantly.
Among the questions for future research, article does not discuss the role of ordinary Hong Kong people on the political process. In general, Pepper only slightly touches the dilemma of the popularity of pro-Chinese activists in Hong Kong autonomy. On the contrary, article mostly evaluates certain practical contradictions of ‘one country, two systems’ as administrative dilemma. Thus, it does not reflect the contradiction of this ambiguous situation with expectations of Hong Kong people. Although, the question of sympathy to central government in terms of values and culture is not that important for the author. Nevertheless, while reading the article, constant influence of China’s appreciation has no explanation. Moreover, author concentrates on Hong Kong’s political system only in administrative dimension and does not pay attention to the influence of Hong Kong’s public on the ideological views of local politicians. In other words, further research should include analysis of reaction from Hong Kong’s population on certain actions from their local pro-Chinese government.