Tax reform and democratic reform in Hong Kong : what do the people think?

Richard CULLEN, Richard S. SIMMONS

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Tax reform and political reform are currently matters of deep and widespread concern in Hong Kong. This article presents a preliminary study of the opinions of Hong Kong citizens on a range of taxation practice and policy issues coupled with a simultaneous review of opinions on certain political reform issues. Its aim is to inform the debate over the two sets of reforms, and to investigate potential linkages between them. A face-to-face survey of almost 800 permanent residents of Hong Kong was undertaken in May 2007. The demographic distribution of the sample was broadly similar to that of the population as a whole. From an analysis of the survey data, significant views on a range of matters are apparent. The study suggests that Hong Kong citizens remain notably apprehensive about the introduction of new taxes. However, they are also concerned about the deteriorating environment, and thus may be receptive to the Hong Kong Government implementing certain new “green taxes”. Further, it appears that the demand for greater democratisation in Hong Kong is high. Some linkages between tax reform and political reform are apparent, but the two reform areas are seen, overall, as giving rise primarily to stand alone issues. It also seems clear that, despite exhibiting large (and increasing) wealth disparities, Hong Kong does not present fertile ground for creating a democracy-driven, western-style, advanced welfare state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-690
Number of pages24
JournalBritish Tax Review
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


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