(Photo credit: Bright Hong Kong)

The past weeks have been marked by speculations over a new era of Chinese leadership under the firm control of Xi Jinping following the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

Among the engrossed observers are local and foreign influencers and diplomats in the city. In face of the new development, Bright Hong Kong hosted a session last Friday (27 October) to discuss an seemingly more confident and assertive China and its implications to the continuation of ‘One Country, Two Systems’.

Leading the discussion was Professor Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Head of the Department of Government and International Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. He is also associate researcher at the Asia Centre, Paris and at the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China in Hong Kong.

Other distinguished guests included former Chief Secretary Anson Chan, new German Consul General Dieter Lamlé as well as Msgr. Javier Herrera Corona, Representative of the Holy See.

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It was noted during the discussion that the far reaching fundamental changes that had been implemented in China, with ambitious targets set thanks to the consolidation and centralisation of power unprecedented since Deng Xiaoping’s – or Mao Zedong’s – era. While the revisions enable Xi to better stimulate the country’s economic engine, the ever-expanding influencer of the Communist Party into every part of the Chinese society will further expose the problem of a lack of check-and-balance in the Chinese political system, leading to possible backlash in the future.

Regarding ‘One Country, Two Systems’, a concern was raised during the discussion that a more assertive China would likely be less flexible and more dominant over the bilateral relations.

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the author

Alex Fok is a Harbour Times journalist monitoring Hong Kong's daily political scene and diplomatic updates. He obtained his bachelor's degree in Economics, Politics and International Studies from University of Warwick and his master's degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a former committee member of the Warwick-based Hong Kong Public Affairs and Social Service Society (WHKPASS) and was the chief editor of the society's magazine - PASSTIMES.