One Country, Two Systems of Policing: the People’s Republic of China’s Gong An Versus Hong Kong’s police reform

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National and international on crime reduction and criminal justice. Third International Conference

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The People’s Republic of China’s Public Security Bureau (PSB) started to reform on the eve of Deng Xiaoping’s ‘Four Modernisations’ of China in 1979. The Hong Kong Police started to reform after the 1967 riots, and later sped up the process with the transfer of sovereignty in 1997. The two reforms shared much in common, in process (externally driven) and outcome (intransient organisational culture). But they also diverged in material and substantial ways. This presentation systematically compares police reform in the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong. The material presented is drawn from two books by the author that were recently published: Police Reform in China (Taylor and Francis, 2011) and Policing in Hong Kong (Ashgate, 2012). The presentation concludes with the observation that while reform in both the Hong Kong Police and China’s PSB achieved much in transforming police organisation and operations in both jurisdictions, the issue of balancing individual rights versus public order needs to be revisited.


Conference held at Johannesburg on October 25-26, 2012.