The Civil Service

Wilson Wong

in Contemporary Hong Kong Government and Politics

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9789888139477
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9789882208681 | DOI:
The Civil Service

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This chapter examines an influential political institution in the HKSAR—the Hong Kong civil service. The chapter outlines the structural and systemic features of the civil service and the special role that its leaders—the administrative officers—play in the governance of Hong Kong. The chapter argues that civil servants served as powerful political actors both before and after the handover and that they were seen (and still regard themselves after the handover) as the guardians of the public interest. The chapter then analyzes reforms to the reforms public sector reform (which reduces the political influence of civil servants) and civil service (inspired by ideas of the new public management movement initiated in the Western industrial countries in the late 1970s). The chapter concludes that the civil service in general and administrative officers in particular remain influential political actors in the governance of the HKSAR.

Keywords: Hong Kong; Government; Politics; Special Administrative Region; Civil service; Administrative officers; Public service reform

Chapter.  10189 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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