ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Politics

Hong Kong's polarized society mirrors 30 years of Taiwan's identity struggles

Winning over the public won't be easy for the city's new Beijing-backed leader

Dr. Syaru Shirley Lin, professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Virginia (Photo by Kenji Kawase)

HONG KONG Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will be the first female chief executive of Hong Kong, but there is no fervor like that seen last January when Tsai Ing-wen was elected Taiwan's first female president. Lam not only lacks a mandate due to the territory's undemocratic electoral system and her low popularity, but she also has to govern a divided society. Syaru Shirley Lin, a scholar of both Taiwan and Hong Kong affairs, told the Nikkei Asian Review that the situation in Hong Kong is much more tense than that in Taiwan, and Lam faces a number of difficult challenges.

What are the chances of healing the rift that exists in Hong Kong society? Lam is known to be a hard-liner on welfare, the environment and political reform. But these are exactly the issues she must tackle right away. Hong Kong is facing a high income trap -- low fertility, high inequality, high housing prices and so on -- and it is the most inequitable among all advanced economies, with young people having limited housing and job opportunities. In the Umbrella Movement of 2014, Lam was the hard-line face stonewalling the students.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more