Date on Senior Honors Thesis

5-2020

Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Degree Name

B.A., B.S.

Department

Political Science

Degree Program

College of Arts and Sciences

Author's Keywords

China; One Country Two Systems; Hong Kong; Macau

Abstract

Xi Jinping has prioritized National Rejuvenation, a new pillar in the Chinese social contract based on the view that western powers exploited China was exploited by the West during a Century of Humiliation and now, under the Communist Party, China is reclaiming its former glory. As China approaches its centennial in 2049, the CPC has prioritized fully reunifying and integrating Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau with the mainland. Through a comparative analysis of Hong Kong and Macau’s demographics and political and economic institutions, this thesis examines the current status of the One Country, Two Systems policy and anticipates its trajectory under Xi Jinping.

Lay Summary

After Mao Zedong led the Communist Party of China (CPC) to victory in the Chinese Civil War, its Nationalist opponents fled to the island of Taiwan where they have governed themselves independently from the mainland since the People’s Republic of China’s founding establishment in 1949. Macau and Taiwan-Hong Kong, small cities in southeast China, also remained independent from the mainland, ruled by Portugal and the United Kingdom, respectively. China has long sought to reunite these territories under the rule of the CPC.

In 1997 the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty under a policy called One Country, Two Systems. China would control Hong Kong’s foreign affairs and defense, but Hong Kong would retain its western economic and political systems, maintaining significant autonomy from the mainland for at least 50 years. Portugal returned Macau to the mainland in 1999 under a similar arrangement. Now more than two decades since the handovers, Hong Kong and Macau have charted substantially different paths; while Hongkongers complain that the mainland has violated the city’s semi-autonomy, Macau has embraced further integration with China.

Now under the leadership of Xi Jinping, the CPC has attempted to promote a nationalistic sentiment through National Rejuvenation, a policy based on the view that China, exploited by the west during a Century of Humiliation, is now returning to its rightful place in history under the CPC. A major component of National Rejuvenation is reunifying with Taiwan and fully integrating Hong Kong and Macau into the mainland. Through a comparative analysis of Hong Kong and Macau’s demographics and political and economic institutions, this thesis examines the current status of the One Country, Two Systems policy and anticipates its trajectory under Xi Jinping.

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