Over the past century, China and Hong Kong (HK) have developed in distinctly different ways, both politically and economically. In 1949, China established a communist nation, separating itself from the world economy for over 30 years. Meanwhile, under British administration HK has turned from a fishing village into a cosmopolitan city-state since the Opium War of 1842.
First, a theoretical framework for the concept of the world system has been constructed using current literature. Second, the political and economic history of China and HK has been examined. Finally, the development of China and HK since the 1980s will be compared.
World-systems theory is a set of nested and overlapping interaction networks which focuses on understanding the development of multicultural territory labour division across core and periphery regions (Chase-duun, 1993, 1995; Wallerstein 1974, 2000).
Wallerstein (1974) defines the world-system as a multicultural territorial division of labour, and defines two types: core and periphery. These are defined by the nature of their industries: core regions are characterized by capital-intensive, well-developed tertiary industries and periphery regions by labour-intensive primary and secondary industries.
The specific claims of world-system theory can be separated into system structure and system dynamics. System structure defines the characteristics and relationships of the system components, with reference to core, periphery and semi-peripheral regions1. System dynamics concerns the processes of the upward or downward mobility within the structure (Shannon, 1996).
When Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China in 1949, the government's ...