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  • Elite-Mass Relationship in Hong Kong

Elite-Mass Relationship in Hong Kong

A Look into the Perception of Local Level Political Representatives

Ernest Wing-tak Chui


English , 1993/01 HKIAPS, Occasional Paper Series Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, CUHK

Tags: Hong Kong Studies, Politics

215 x 140 mm , 47pp ISBN : 978-962-441-024-2

  • US$4.50


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The very basis of modern representative democracy is the viable relationship between the masses and their political representatives, in the true reflection and articulation of the public will. Hong Kong presents a peculiar case whereby career bureaucrats dominate the government administration, and the political representatives are not vested with the political authority comparable to their western counterparts'. In the final analysis, the "elite group" in the local context is constituted by the career bureaucrats and the political representatives who are in the ascendancy. The present study, by employing survey research, attempts to explore the perception of the political representatives at the local district and municipal levels of the government consultative machinery, on the issue of elite-mass relationship. It was found that these "representatives" were generally having a negative evaluation of citizens' competency. They tended to adopt an elitist orientation in their role-perception. Yet, they also experienced a sense of incompetence relative to the government officials, which aptly reflects the political reality of Hong Kong. There also appeared to be a significant divergence of opinion on a number of issues between the elected and non-elected representatives. Nonetheless, these representatives could still manage to maintain contact with the citizens. Those who were relatively younger, who had political group affiliations, and who intended to stand for re-election in the 1991 elections, were more prone to have better performance in the aspect of elite-mass contact. The paper raises a number of issues for further investigation. In view of building up representative democratic system in the local context, a re-orientation of the political elites' perception is warranted to substantiate a more viable elite-mass relationship. Civic competence on the part of the citizens should be enhanced. However, the repercussion of the development of representative democracy, that of the possible frustration of civil service morale, should also be attended to. Furthermore, the possible role of the emerging political groups can aid in the process of building up elite-mass linkage. Finally, the issue of institutional reconfiguration should deserve special attention, in order to provide the elite-mass relationship with a solid foundation.

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