This literature review aims to study the notion of trust and legitimacy through the perception of local Taiwanese and Hong Kong citizens using the following events as case studies: Sunflower Movement (2014) and Umbrella Revolution (2014).
In Criminology, the study of legitimacy is diverse due to the nature of the subject intersecting other subjects such as politics and law. Thus, predicaments in relation to legitimacy can be described as multidimensional (spectrum that indicates different types of problems) or multilayered (different elements associated with the problem). For instance, legitimacy in policing can range from domestic to international (i.e. institutional racism – police/canteen culture; sanctions imposed on stateless or non-state actors who participated in illegal activities). By the same token, the analysis of legitimacy over the subject (i.e. Guantanamo Bay; enhanced interrogation techniques) may be layered with different elements such as the philosophical debate of punishment and geographical politics (Debrix and Lacy, 2009; Druzin and Wan, 2015; Petersen et al., 2012; Simon, 2007).
With the ethical considerations embedded in institutional and political legitimacy becoming a fashionable topic of altercation in the world of politics, research in understanding the police-citizen interaction has become increasingly popular among academic and legal experts over the past several decades. With the help of the academic community, the study of trust and legitimacy in policing has gave rise to other subfields (i.e. procedural justice and public opinion and satisfaction towards police). In the same fashion, these subfields are studied with other sociological variables such as nationality, ethnicity, youth and identity politics.
In the meantime, general academic community has expanded its athenium of knowledge in the study of trust and legitimacy (Gau, 2011; Gau et al., 2012; Hough et al., 2010; Kochel, Parks and Mastrofski, 2013; Tyler, 2003), the significant marginal difference between the Western and Asian studies remains (Chang and Chu, 2006; Nalla and Madan, 2011, p. 278). On the bright side, there has been a gradual increase amongst Asian publications that not only explores the trust and legitimacy between the police-civilian interaction, but also the role of psychological and political forces that involved in policing – e.g. The role of People’s Armed Police in China together with the subliminal messages enforced towards its society (Lee, 2011; Sun et al., 2017; Sun and Wu, 2008; Tsang and Men, 2016). Still, there are rhetorical questions that remains unanswered. One of the most significant question as follows: Why are most studies and investigation written by western academics? Why is the comparison of societies (i.e. China and United States) based on the perspective of Anglo-Saxon values, when both societies emphasize on different values – individualism; autonomy vs collectivism and informal social control (Carlson, p. 30; Hwang, McGarrell and Benson, 2005). In the most comparative studies, identified commonalities and differences (i.e. social phenomena) are often used as fundamental arguments in their analysis (Nelken, 2010, p. 30-35). It is simple for one to dismiss and conclude the possible cause(s) of similarity/differences is a result of cultural differences (i.e. Confucianism in Japan and Korea), under the assumption that that individual ethnic-culture attached to societies may produce similar but bi-variated reactions, thence losing the fundamental purpose of comparative analysis. In other words, subjects in comparative studies should be studied independently and contain elements of interpretation.
In the case of studying legitimacy and trust in Asia, Boateng and Buckner (2010, p. 2-3) has outlined several vital aspects from an anthropological perspective. First and foremost, though Asian nations are recognized for sharing the ideology of collectivism, it is also important to note that certain countries have experienced rapid economic and political transitions over the past few decades. In fact, countries such as China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are still undergoing political transition. Second, Asian countries were established under the influence of Marxism and most states continues to function under Marxists principles (i.e. state ownership). Hence, the philosophical dilemma is born. Should western, capitalistic conceptions such as police legitimacy be studied in the context of its contrary? Another unique thesis suggested by Boateng and Buckner (ibid) is the political stance held by the government. As mentioned earlier, most countries in Asia have undergone radical change in politics and economic policies over the past few decades. This results in certain countries operating under a hybrid regime (i.e. Thailand and Pakistan), where the state is governed under principles of both democratic and authoritarian rule, or flawed democracy (i.e. Singapore and Hong Kong), whereby democracy is still being developed (Economist Intelligent Unit, 2017, p. 7, 64). As a result, the perception towards legitimacy and submission to authority will also vary from one country to another, as the factor of ethnic-culture merges with the current political terrains of the state.
Despite of the cultural differences around the topic of legitimacy, the cardinal function(s) of police generally the same across societies. Today, the role of police consists far more than the safety of civilians and prevention properties being stolen or damaged, ranging from enforcement of criminal law, maintaining public order to counselling juveniles (Bayley, 1979). An interesting analogy that spotlight the distinct role held by the police is the comparison of firefighters and police officers (Remington, 1965). While the job of the firemen is to establish control and power of the flames, the objective of the police is far more complex and challenging when the chosen decision may trigger a series of consequence – political and psychological (McEntire and Weckler, 1946). From a classical sociologic viewing-field, the role of police can be categorized by two theoretical viewpoints: Weberian and Durkheimian (Terpstra, 2011). In Weberian conceptualisation, the police force is considered as the vanguard of the criminal justice system, the primary-line of defense that is under the command of the state, enforcing the power of law through coercive forces on its citizens. However, the involvement of exerting force requires the involvement of ‘head’ (logic) and ‘soul’ (morality). On the one hand, policing is part of politics and therefore should be applied with formal principles and rationality of law. On the other, if the use of force consists of only logic, the society will enter into a state anomie as the effects of legal cycnism saturates (Samspon and Bartusch, 1998). Comparatively, a Durkheimian analysis would suggest that the existence of crime is to generate a societal reaction for the people to demarcate right and wrong. More importantly, it is the state’s responsibility to educate its people with moral individuality. In spite the fact that both theories were published in the previous century, both interpretations pinpoint the difficulties faced by police agencies in modern societies – the abuse of instrumental legitimacy by the state, the moral dilemma within the minds of the police and how policing can be improved via the search of common values that tethers the citizens and the state.
To those who supports Tom Tyler’s theories in procedural justice (2003), trust is the core pivotal force that bonds between civilians and the state (Hough, Jackson and Bradford, 2013; Jackson et al., 2013). Although the terms (i.e. compliance, legitimacy, cooperation) used in this area generally referring to the notion of one perceiving authority, it is necessary to define, elaborate the theme and functions associated procedural justice. In other words, procedural justice is an umbrella framework term that encapsulates other forms of principles (i.e. compliance theories, restorative justice) whilst placing the legitimacy as the central doctrine (Hough, Jackson and Bradford, 2013). Conjointly, it focuses on the process of in delivering justice rather than emphasizing on the outcomes. The definition of legitimacy has been described as complicated, social phenomena that involves individual, organization and institutional factors (Tyler and Huo, 2002, as cited in Jackson et al., 2013). In other words, the definitions of legitimacy may vary from one scholar to another, due to its nature in complexity:
“Legitimacy is the right to rule and the recognition of those who are ruled”
-Hough, Jackson, Bradson, 2013-
“Perceived appropriateness of the institution, right to power is operationalized as normative alignment”
-Jackson et al., 2016-
The state relies on citizens in several ways. Be it gathering political/social intelligence for security purposes or enforcing social order (i.e. having civilians to conform to rules; prevent individuals from committing or being involved with illegal activities), the public should be considered as the police’s first-hand ally instead of its number one enemy (Boateng and Buckner, 2017; Jackson and Gau, 2016). As Jackson et al. (2016) propounds, legitimacy is the axle that brings justice to society simply due to its ability in taming power held by state agencies while minimizing the need in using hard, political/physical force when dealing with social control. Though humans can be perceived as individuals are rational-economic calculators when it comes to contemplating whether to be involved deviant activities, it should not be forgotten that there are individuals who are not driven by utilitarian principles due to the set of moral values that are instilled within them (Jackson et al., 2012). Only through the influence of having a shared set of moral alignment values between the police and the policed can there be the inauguration of perceived legitimacy in the eyes of the civilians (Jackson et al., 2012; 2013; 2016). Consequently, this generates a righteous cycle. Believing that the actions conducted by the policing institutions(s) as legitimate increases cooperation from the civilians as well as the willingness for one to comply to law, engendering a culture that promotes trust and respect between the police and citizens (Boateng, 2013; Cheng, 2015; Jackson et al., 2012).
Equivalently, the notion of perceived legitimacy of a society can be measured by the public’s attitude towards police satisfaction. Studies have shown that democracy and confidence in the police force can be characterized with a U-shaper convex curvilinear relationship (Cao, Lai and Zhao, 2012; Sung, 2006; Martin, 2013). On the one end of the curve axes democracy whilst the other marks authoritarian. Evidence has shown that countries that operationalize under authoritarian regimes (i.e. China, Singapore, Vietnam) scored high levels of confidence in police. The same results are also observed in developed, politically-stable, democratic nations such as Canada, Sweden and Finland. In contrast, countries that experience unstable regimes or in the midst of its transitional phases reports in having lower levels of confidence in their nation’s police force. In their latest regression analysis that assess how well civilians vote rate for police legitimacy, Hong Kong is rated as one of the highest-legitimacy nations, along with Jordan and Qatar (Boateng and Buckner, 2017). Corresponding to that, Taiwan is categorized as a nation that possess high legitimacy together with ten other countries such as Singapore and Japan.
On the contrary, there are studies that proclaims otherwise. The media representation of the Hong Kong police force suggests intriguing insights when conferring on the topic of police legitimacy (Chan, 2015; Chan and He, 2017; The Economist, 2017). It is revealed that the police tend receive negative remarks when involved in events which are politicised in nature while requiring manpower for regulating public order. Likewise, the image of the police is placed under a positive spotlight when the corresponding to crime-fighting duties such as theft. Homogenous data supplied by Adorjan and Lee (2017) has also displayed analogous findings of the public perceiving mixed reviews when asked about their views towards public order policing and the concept of political legitimacy. Furthermore, the amount of political strength allocated to the police force has been castigated scholars like Wong (2010) together with Jones and Vagg (2007). According to Wong, the main issue with the police force is the lack of effective supervision in recording events or issues of misconduct. Secondly, there is an absence in agreement in regarding to the accountability of the police. For exemplar, there is no form of formal legislation that outlines the civil rights entitled by a citizen when conducting the business in a peace manner? Through which standards should the misbehavior of the police be judged? Would it be meeting the criterions of legal, moral or ethical philosophies? One could argue that the formation of the Independent Police Complain Commission (IPPC) plays the role of in supervising the police force when the reality indicates otherwise, as complains filed towards the police remains weak due to the failure of non-empirical methodologies in place. In doing so, Hong Kong gains a sense of “autonomy and independence” on the surface without fully expressing the values of democracy and liberalism (Jones and Vagg, 2007, p. 578).
In the case of Taiwan, the perception of trust and legitimacy is narrated as “pattern of trust” (Martin, 2014). In comparison to Hong Kong, Taiwan has withstood the rule of martial law before having its transition to modern democracy. Recent studies have shown that the Taiwanese police institution has gradually gained positive feedback and satisfaction since the transformation of the state (Gingerich, Chu and Chang, 2014). In the same vein, the sentiment of trust has been described as binary oppositions when compared to Taiwan’s neighbour, Mainland China (Wu, Poteyeva and Sun, 2012). Considering that Taiwanese holds onto a more critical, cynical stance when evaluating the performance of their political institutions, one may presume that trust and legitimacy would be reciprocated with low or negative sentiments. Per contra, most Taiwanese report to trust the police than in most other political institutions (i.e. courts and national government), showing higher levels of trust in the police than Mainland Chinese citizens as well. Another major factor is the influences the perception of the public is the presence of Taiwanese local media. In Taiwan, the media is a digital battlefield for privately-owned news agencies, whereby everyone is constantly looking for controversial topics and statistical figures as a marketing strategy for attracting audience. By the virtue of this, the perception towards institutional legitimacy held by most citizens are likely to be influenced due to the repeating denouncements of social events, having a negative spotlight placed over the accused politicians and governmental agencies (Cao, Huang and Sun, 2016, p. 654; Hsieh and Boateng, 2015, p. 156; Huang, 2018, p. 127, 142; Sun et al., 2013, p. 126; Wu, Poteyva and Sun, 2012, p. 192-206). With all that is being mentioned above, the study of trust and legitimacy cannot be studied base on annual figures or polls. Instead, one must look analyse the ‘concept of trust/legitimacy’ closely to the social-historical developments of the state along with its political institution in order to gain a better understanding from the perspective of the public.Using the recent events that outbroke in Taiwan and Hong Kong as the core of this dissertation (i.e. Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution, Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement) new insights and implications towards the current knowledge in public satisfaction and legitimacy towards police are yielded when compared to social-political history and development in policing of the two societies.
The dissertation of each case study will be divided into three sections. First, the historical roots of policing and legitimacy of the state will be reviewed. Second, the development of how the social movement began, as well as its association with the notion of the “rule of law”. Finally, the analysis of the perception of public opinion and attitude held towards the police will be canvassed through the comparison of past and present empirical data provided from both governmental and academic communities. Limitations and implications for each event will be included at the end of each case study.
Case Study 1: Hong Kong
History of Hong Kong
The clash of opinions in administering justice with the concept of “rule of law” was gradually imbedded to the cultural-political identity by the later generations of Hong Kong since the 1970s in spite of the British governors’ attempt in depoliticizing the situation through the means of implementing compulsory civic education on Chinese history in fostering students’ individualistic sense of affinity to China (Bhattacharya, 2005; Fung, 2004; Kan, 2007, p. 1-24; Siu, 1996, p. 178-186). Likewise, it was also a tactical approach in preparation of the transfer of sovereignty in 1997 (Morris, Kan and Morris, 2000; On, 1999, p. 313-320). By the same coin, the “rule of law” ideology can be used as an indicator in identifying the political stance adopted by people. For example, the personal analysis and level of support against the Hong Kong Basic Law and motherland China is an indirect mirage in classifying them as either pro-Beijing or pan-democratic supporters on the political spectrum. In addition, the response of such inquiry will also reflect one’s characterisation and attitude in relation to the police and the rise in the episodic events of civil disorder since the transfer of sovereignty in 1997 (Bell, 1999).
Otherwise referred as Fragrant Harbor, Hong Kong is globally recognized for its free economic trading policies. Aside from being rated as the 8th largest trading economy contributor in the world, Hong Kong is also rated globally ranked 1st in place for having the highest degree of economic freedom (economic index freedom score: 90.2) as its continual growth of its service-oriented industry contributes greatly to the overall GDP of the state (Fung, 2018; Miller et al., 2018; p. 3) Similar to its sister state, Macau, Hong Kong also has a relatively unique geopolitical history which can be defined into 3 eras: Early colonial rule (1842-1941); Crown colony to Hong Kong territory (1950-1997) and Reunification of China (Post-1997).
Hong Kong was once part of China, Guangdong but administrative powers were soon allocated into the arms of the British empire in the final moments of negotiations towards the end of the Opium Wars – Treaty of Nanking (1842) and Convention of Peking (1860). Hong Kong was also once occupied by the Japanese empire in 1941 for a total of three years and eight months during the Second World War prior to their surrender in 1945. With the agreement agreed at the Convention for Extension of Hong Kong Territory on 1898, the British government was granted sovereignty powers over to rule the surrounding regions of Hong Kong (i.e. New Territories and Kowloon Peninsula and other surrounding islands) under the condition of the agreement being a 99-year lease. The long reign of British colonial history ended its 156th year of rule with the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed in 1985 coming to effect, the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong took place on the 1st of July 1997.
According to Tsang (2007, p. 45-55) the Hong Kong was in a disastrous state when the British colonial power took over. Not only was the state described as a plague infected colony because of the state’s hypnotic dependence with opium (Jiao, 2007, p. 1) but there was a lack of trust and willingness to understand the native inhabitants of its newly founded colony, signs of ethnic-social segregation were observed via the distribution of racial settlements in conjuncture with the movement of “anti-Chinese legislation system” (Rebushka, 1973, p. 2, as cited in Jiao, 2007; Miners, 1990; Tsang, 2007, p. 45-55; 65-66). The notion of “rule of law” was nonexistence in the 19th century. For instance, it has been documented that 18,000 cases were handled by two magistrates during the mid-1890s when most of those who are employed have no legal backgrounds or formal education qualifications. The magistracy was part of the government instead of being independent. Though the colonial government established its the police force which compromised individuals from various military/civil background (i.e. sailors and trained policemen from other nations), corruption and abuse of power was a common sight. Little time was required for the early Chinese communities to shown indications of severe dissatisfaction and anger towards the colonial government as the growing sense of racial prejudice increased as time went by.
As the Japanese surrendered, the former master of Hong Kong returned to rule the state once again. Between 1950 to 1970, Hong Kong endured numerous issues and problems simultaneously, ranging from the high influx of Mainland refugees to police legitimacy, racial discrimination and social order against the local Chinese community (Hambro, 1957; Tsang, p. 142, 2004). It was also the period whereby the local Chinese learned and formulate their views towards politics. For the refugee immigrants, they came to Hong Kong with the aim of rebuilding their lives in a place where it is safe from the battle of the Communist and Nationalist party. As for the local Chinese communities in Hong Kong, they desired a better system that promotes equality with officials that understand the Chinese. Most importantly, they want a system that was free from corruption as they recalled the days of xenophobia before the second world war. It was in the 1950s, whereby Hong Kong embarks on the journey of modernization and self-discovery.
One of the most significant changes was the administration of justice. Issues with law and order were identified by the new police commissioner, John Pennefather-Evans. Under his leadership, radical changesin the criminal justice system was seen in the first few years of 1950s (Jones and Vagg, 2007, p. 191-215). With new infrastructures and staffs to facilitate the system, Pennefather-Evans moved onto the second phase of the modernization: police reform. Arguably, one could say that Pennefather-Evans was the founder who introduced the concept with “the rule of law” to Hong Kong. In his opinion, the methods deployed in campaigning against crime rates seals the future of Hongs Kong. The fact that Hong Kong was suffering from overcrowding and inefficient legal opportunities for employment is the fundamental motivation of one participating in deviant activities. With the police force having more ethnic-diversity and development in specialized unit (anti-corruption and emergency unit), these changes marked the new chapter and beginning, a new age in the Hong Kong police force on its due course in bringing contemporaneity and procedural justice to the region (Jones and Vagg, 2007 ibid). Another remarkable achievement noted in this period was the continual development of kaifong, a traditional Chinese ‘self-aid’ organisational structure which encourages social welfare and assistance for those in need (Leung, 1986) In a way, the colonial government was indirectly governing Hong Kong whilst building a sense of trust and collective identity with the local Chinese community (Lee, 2005) In exchange from the support provided by the kaifong communities, the colonial government rewarded them with social welfare and recreational facilities (Jones and Vagg, p. 276-277). As the colonial government progressively bridges its trust with its residents, the old, negative impression of “Chinese could not be trusted” that was once circulated in the minds of the colonial government became history.
Between the transition period of 1950 to 1970s, Hong Kong underwent smooth transformations (i.e. transformation of Crown Colony system to modern administration) in terms of its economy and political reforms despite of some of the challenges and issues that were faced (i.e. 1966 Star Ferry and 1967 riots). Although most Hong Kongers consider Hong Kong as their home and citizens of the state, most of them were unable to associate themselves with the colonial government (Tsang, 2004). Nevertheless, the implications and demands of the two riots signified the needs and attention required to rejuvenate the confidence of the public towards the colonial administration
Under the MacLehose administration during the 1970s, a golden aeon dawned upon Hong Kong. It was the period whereby the police experienced the second wave of major structural reform whilst the emergence of the Hong Kong ‘localism identity’ was fully embraced by majority of local population (Tsang, 2007, p. 190-196). Vice versa, the last decade (1980-97) of the British governance could be characterized as the most sensitive and politicised era. It was within this timeframe that Hong Kongers entered a state of moral panic as they receive the news of reuniting with Motherland China in the near immediate future. With the British administration in place for more than 150 years, it is natural for that Hong Kongers to have such cognitive imprint towards their motherland. Anthropologically speaking, both Chinese population groups – Hong Kong and China have diversified. The incorporation of western values and cognition has been injected to the collective psyche of the Chinese population in Hong Kong. As a neoteric state that was once in chaos and discursive, it is no doubt for the Hong Kongers to feel threaten or afraid of losing of their freedom, when liberalism was the fundamental nucleus that brought success and status to Hong Kong (Sussman, 2010, p. 11-36). In their perception, Hong Kong is a city that is governed with law, a rich, wealthy city where one could openly express his or her perceptions of any matter. By the same limelight, the impression of 1980s China was portrayed as a backward, authoritarian and politically corrupted in the mindsets of these Hong Kongers (Jones and Vagg, 2015a, p. 529-551). The sense of ‘localism identity’ was further reinforced and strengthen by unfold of events of the Tiananmen Square incident of 1989, the introduction for the Bill of Rights in 1991, along with the pilotage of the last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten (Jones, 2015a, p. 42-61).
Though Hong Kong was entirely ‘democratic’ when ruled by the British, all residents were entitled to liberal rights and ability to express their thoughts. As Jones (2015a, p. 44) outlines, the Sino-British Joint Agreement have been criticised as a “joint gang rape” by Britain and China as Hong Kong wailed in dead air. Although the British were successful with passing on its legacy – the rule of law after its negotiation with Beijing, granting a 50-year no change policy for Hong Kong in having the choice to facilitate and retain its capitalist system and right to self-governance with high spectrums of autonomy as a special administrative state (Jones, 2015a, p. 45). Per contra, the behaviour and actions executed by the Beijing government suggests otherwise before the handover of 1997. Without a doubt, Beijing was highly skeptical with the Bill of Rights (BoR) from beginning, claiming that such actions breached the joint agreement, proposing that all laws in Hong Kong would reviewed and amended if in required (Jones, 2015a, p. 59). In addition to this, the Hong Kong Basic Law is self-contradictory and open to interpretation in many levels, especially when placed under the scope of analysis in debating procedural legitimacy and civic rights of an individual. An exemplar of this can be detected through the comparative inspection between the articles. It is states that residents of Hong Kong are entitled to the freedom of expression, participate assembly or demonstration. At the same time, it is promised to them that all residents are safeguarded from any form of arbitrary charges such as detention or illegitimate civil procedures. Be that as it may, Article 158 declares that the power in interpretation of “Basic Law shall be vested in the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress” whereas Article 18 proclaims that national laws will not be imposed in Hong Kong unless (1) the state of national unity is disrupted or (2) beyond the ability for the HKSAR government to contain and resolve, thereby declaring the state of emergency (Jones, 2015a, p. 51). In other words, the Beijing government has the judiciary power in justifying its arguments when challenged.
Origin and development of The Umbrella Movement
In the two events of Hong Kong’s recent social unrest in 2014 – Umbrella Revolution (also known as Umbrella Movement) and the Mongkok riot 2016 (otherwise known as Fishball riots), is the perfect case scenario that shows how the articles described above were applied in reality. Though Hong Kong’s legitimacy crisis have been problem since reuniting with China, with annual protests and frequent civil unrest (i.e. Annual Marches for 1st July: Handover Day and 4th June: Tiananmen Square), the Umbrella Revolution highlights the issue of legitimacy on many levels, one of which is the use of coercive force on when dealing with crowds and protestors. In the past, the police have responded with increasing the members of force onsite as well as the use of violence to suppress the confrontational situation (Cheng, 2016).
Towards the end of September in 2014, thousands of protestors were seen sitting on the ground, occupying central business district zones of Hong Kong, fighting for their rights for universal suffrage as they demanded a genuine, civic nominated election of Chief Executive towards their local government, one which would take place in 2017. One of the most significant apprehension of this event is the interaction adopted by both protestors and police. In the name of maintaining justice and social order, the police responded with canisters of tear gas and pepper spray. On the other hand, the protestors guarded their philosophy of a non-violent demonstrating occupation, the protestors used umbrellas as shield to safeguard themselves from the aggressive behaviour of the police, thus giving the social event the name: Umbrella Movement. The occupation lasted for a total of 79 days, recognized as one of the largest mass protest event ever observed in Hong Kong recent history (Chan, 2015; Kwok and Chan, 2007).
It is important to note that the umbrella revolution was not an abrupt movement which occurred over a night by angry students who stood up late in rallying supporters of the event. Instead, the rise of umbrella revolution should be seen as the erupted climax of Hong Kongers’ dissatisfaction towards the notion of the rule of law and perceived legitimacy in Hong Kong.
The description of Umbrella Revolution primarily using Chan’s (2017) narrative analysis, with the case study partitioned into three sections, each outlining important details which illustrate the individual elements that motivates the up rise for the social movement.
Part 1: History of Election in Hong Kong
Between 1985 to 1987, voices and demands of the public wanting a direct democratic election for LC (Legislative Council of Hong Kong) was heard by the British government. Due to the sensitive relationship with China, the colonial government rejected the notion of democratic election, believing that only the Hong Kong’s mother, China had the final say with the approval of such matters. In 1991, direct election was introduced, 18 out of 60 seats were available through civic nomination. Although the number of seats for direct election has increased since then, only 50% of the elected candidates returned based on their individual geographic constituencies while the remaining members of the legislative council members derived from “functional constituencies”, requiring low number of votes and represented only the corporate sectors. Under the split voting system installed in Hong Kong, any form of motion (i.e. bills, amendments etc.) raised by an individual house member must have approbation by the majority of the two constituencies. Unlike the conventional whole house voting system whereby the total number votes determine the final agreement or movement, the split voting system reduced the likelihood of bias voting for a member who may be popular within the house.
One of the agenda of Hong Kong’s Basic Law is to have a Legislative Council and chief executive (CE) through democratic voting. For one to be elected as the CE, the individual will have to be nominated by another political body, known as the Election Committee whereby each member are representatives of an individual functional constituencies from the Legislative Council. Uniquely, some members are found having close ties with the business corporates and pro-Beijing political factions. This electoral mechanism was set on a 3-term trial, with all possible amendments of the electoral process in the final term, 2005. Unfortunately, the goals of having a full democratic election became a dream that never could never be fulfilled as the Chinese Government felt that it was unnecessary to change the system that was in place. By the same token, an exceptional decision was made in December 2007. The NPCSC (Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress) declared that no direct elections will be available for 2012 but it was possible for Hong Kong to have a direct election for the position of CE in 2017 along with thee next LC election in 2020.
According to Article 45 of the Basic Law, it states as follow:
“The CE shall be elected by universal suffrage upon nomination by broadly representative nomination committee in accordance with a democratic process”
Chan has also posed critical insights illuminates the abstractive concept of Article 45. What does the article mean by the term: “broadly representative nomination committee”? What is the definition of democratic process in the eyes of the NPCSC? Could it be possible for one to be nominated without the approval of the nomination committee? These questions are left unanswered by the authorities.
Subsequently, the Hong Kong government announced the following details in May 2014:
Chief Executive must be patriotic for nomination
Nomination must be handled by the Nomination Committee and not any other form of body (thus eliminating the possibility of civic nomination)
Nomination Committee and Election Committee will have the same structure, represented by the four structures of Hong Kong (Economy, Profession, Politics and Religion)
Theoretically speaking, the concept of having the Election Committee (EC) appears to be fair and legitimate. In reality, the EC is highly illegitimate due to its unfair voting system. It is discovered that 39 elected individuals will return as LC members under the conditions of democratic elections meanwhile the rest of the Election Committee are elected with a diminutive number of votes from the respective four structures. Each structure may consist of other smaller subsectors (i.e. Economy sector is made up of industrial, commercial and financial), each consisting on the average of 1000 voters and a sub-total of 240,000 voters when combining all sectors. While the numerical vote of 240,000 may appear as a hefty, large numerical figure, most voters within the subsector are corporate representatives and are appears to be affiliated or similar with one and other (i.e. Aberdeen Fisherman Association and Aberdeen Fisherwomen Association). There are no official statements or guidelines in which indicates the eligibility of a voter.
Part 2: Occupy Central Movement
In 2012, a law professor named Benny Tai from the University of Hong Kong initiated the Occupy Central Movement with the assistance of his two companions – Reverend Chu Yiu-ming and Chan Kin-man. In fear that the selection of CE nominees would become a permanent political screening methodology used by those conservative politicians in the future, the trio came up with the idea of creating a fair, reasonable model which could accommodate local Hong Kong citizens (Chan, 2017; Kan, 2013).
According to Tai’s plans, civil disobedience would be the last resort, participants would occupy the commercial arteries of Hong Kong (located adjacent to governmental offices) in peace. Alternatively, if civil disobedience is not required, five rounds of elimination will be involved in filtering various political models, with participants choosing one of the model proposed by public as a benchmark to countermeasure the proposal offered by the government. Sadly, the models selected by the public encompasses the notion of “civic nomination”, disappointing those who wanted to participate either voting the unofficial ballot of “civic nomination” or a vote of no confidence; support for Tai reached the lowest.
However, Beijing’s publication of the White Paper revived the support of Occupy Central. The document outlines that members of administration (i.e. judges) were to oblige the rules of the government and be patriotic to Mainland China. But what truly triggered the Hong Kongers was the intrusion of the values that were long rooted in the society – the rule of law as well as the independence that belonged to the judiciary. In late June 2014, it was estimated that up to 800,000 people voted when Occupy Central submitted three chosen proposal, an impressive phenomenon considering of the setbacks and issues (i.e. congestion of voting system online; facing immediate political threat as referendum is unofficial) hinting Beijing the craving desires of Hong Kongers in wanting civic nomination with such volume of voters.
Though the overall structure of the Nomination Committee for 2017 would be the same as the 2012 Election Committee, the NPCSC suggested that all individual candidates are to receive 50% of the support for a successful nomination to occur, a significant higher rate than the previous Election Committee rate (12.5%). Undeniably, it is possible for the pan-democrat politicians to vote this motion down only if all the pan-democratic factions unite as one, forming 2/3 majority in LC. Correspondingly, the other path would be bringing the matter onto the streets.
Part 3: The Occupation
Upon hearing the final decisions of NPCSC, a group of university students launched a boycott classes on the 22nd September of 2014, gathering outside the government headquarters at Queensway. By the end of the first week (end of September), Tai joined forces with the student demonstrators. At the beginning, the Hong Kong police forces attempted to resolve the situation via the form of negotiation. Unluckily, not only has the negotiation failed to contain the situation, protestors stood by their beliefs and expanded their occupation of territory (Ortman, 2015). Such behaviour left the police forces with no choice but to deploy with hard, coercive methodologies. The riot police used tear gas canisters and pepper spray on multiple occasions as a form of repellant in preventing the advancement of the protestors. Contrary speaking, the aggressive stance withheld by the police caught the attention the wider population, a tremendous increase of protestors was seen to join the movement as people started to occupy various parts of Hong Kong (i.e. shopping districts of Causeway Bay, Mongkok etc.). The last protest ended on December 15, as the police cleared the barricades of the last occupation site (Ho, Jackson and Lam, 2018). Though the social movement has ended approximately four years ago, the event has left Hong Kongers a legacy. One that reminds people when to be fearless, when to behave and react with civil disobedience against governmental authorities, one that could be spectated the Mongkok riots two years later in 2016, one that has been described as the biggest riot since 1979 (Kong, 2018; Li, 2016)
Like the Umbrella Revolution, the development of the Mongkok riot was based on a series of events which involves in the clash of governmental policies against local civilian perceptions. During Chinese New Year, Chinese street vendors would appear the popular corners of Mongkok, selling seasonal festive delights. Even though most of these vendors were not authorised with legal licenses, the local food safety authorities (Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, FEHD) has never really taken any form of legal actions against the vendors. Instead, they either give verbal warning or turn a blind eye when encountering these vendors. Conversely, the attitude of the FEHD has changed in the recent years. In fear of the possible health and safety issues caused by the unlicensed vendors (i.e. unsanitary practices), they started off with conducting routinely patrols and monitors of vendors and occasional episodes of surprise inspections (Oriental Daily, n.d.). Over the years, the government introduced a crackdown, a zero-tolerance policy against unlicensed vendor owners, causing great levels of dissatisfaction in the vendor community. However, it was the arrestment of a Sociologist lecturer and activist, Lau Siu-lai whom helped one of the unlicensed vendors in selling their grilled cuttlefish in front of the FEHD authorities that sparked off the anguish emotions of the activist groups (BBC News, 2016; McKirdy and Chan, 2016; Stand News, 2016).
According to the news, it is estimated that the physical confrontation between the police and protestors lasted over 10 hours, with protestors estimated between the number of 400 to 500, causing 90 police officers being injured, from fractured bones to bruises whilst 54 protestors were said to be arrested from the scene (Baldwin and Kwok, 2016; South China Morning Post, 2016). During the riot incident, the riot police used pepper spray, batons as well as two warning gunshots to control the scene. In retaliation, most protestors threw bricks and glass bottles against their rivals whilst others set bins on fire, taking any item available around them as weapons. Though the riot outbroke due to certain members of public and activists being unable to accept the government’s decision towards removing unlicensed vendors, the event also reflects political dilemmas for the police together with the clash of perception held by the government and activists.
In the name of justice and social order, has the police committed any form of crime or illegitimate behaviour? Unlike the Umbrella Revolution whereby combative measures were only taken by the police, those who have participated have also responded with physical violence during the outbreak of event. It is impossible to conclude that the two events are linked but it be hypothesized that both events harbours the sense of anti-Mainland sentiment, believing that the current SAR government stands by the Beijing authorities and not willing to accept feedback from local opinions (Kwong, 2016a, 2016b; Lo, 2016; McKirdy and Chan, 2016; Sile, 2016; Time, 2016; Yuen, 2018).
Findings and Analysis
Going back to the question of perceived legitimacy and civil disorder. Does the public trust the police? Has there been any changes of public opinion before and after the two events that happened recently?
Using the current data available from the government and research community, it can be hypothesized that current perception held towards the police has affected the notion of perceived legitimacy towards of police institution before and after the occurrence of the two social events: Umbrella Revolution (2014) and Mongkok riot(2016).
According to the latest survey findings of published in August 2018 – Police Service Satisfaction and Public Opinion Survey, the police institution made significant improvements across the years. It is suggested that 84% of the respondents indicated that they were either ‘Very Satisfied’ or ‘Quite Satisfied’ with the overall performance of the police force, highest percentage since 2000; 79% reflected that they were highly confident in the police force, with an average mean score of 4.18 out of 5 in overall service satisfaction (Hong Kong Police Force, 2018). In the same fashion, the outstanding performance of the police institution were recognized across multiple platforms (i.e. 4th in place for Rule of Law Index and 5th in Legatum Prosperity Index in 2017). On the contrary, conflicting data has been recorded by the academic communities. Based on the Public Opinion Programme (POP), a public examination inaugurated Hong Kong University, results suggest that the Hong Kong Police Force and Independent Commission Agent Against Corruption (IPCC) ranked the lowest against other disciplinary forces such as the Immigration or Correctional Services Department. Not only has the IPCC reached a new record low with 63.2, it also registers positive 30 percentage points for net satisfaction, ranking last among other institutions (HKU POP SITE, 2016). When evaluating the possibility to depend or rely on the police, majority of the individuals (29 out of 30 focus groups – no difference when comparing against gender, social class) showed high levels of satisfaction, holding onto the perception that the police presents themselves with a neutral attitude when attending to a case or issue (Adorjan and Lee, 2017). Over the years, the institution has shown positive indications and popularity in the recent years (Lo, 2016). For instance, breaking new records for lowest crime in 2015 since 1979); having high recognition rates: 97 to 98.3 percent between 2012 to 2015; 2100 candidates applying for the position of inspector in the police force seven months after the Umbrella Revolution.
Inversely, polarized implications were seen when Hong Kongers asked to elaborate their conception of the police maintaining public order (Adorjan and Lee, ibid; Li and Sun, 2013). It has been identified that older citizens indicated that they were generally “more positive” with the performance of the police meanwhile the younger participants (age between 20-29) held a more critical viewpoint towards the police. This is implication is further amplified by those who felt that the police were politically biased as seen as the conversation below:
Resp: I have no concerns about the police ability in combating crime . . . But in other aspects we are adopting the model in China. The police have to gauge the opinions of the Chinese seniors before they act.
Interv: You mean you’re afraid that the police have to listen to the mainland Chinese officials?
Resp: Yes, and become their tool. A tool of the mainland Chinese. A tool of political control.
Interv: You have confidence that the police can catch criminals, but you are worried that the police could become a tool of the mainland Chinese government?
Resp: The fact is, this is already happening.
Similar views and notions could be seen in the qualitative study conducted by Chow (2015) as he collected 39 police-related statements across different parties who were involved during the movement:
“Police should explain to Executive Council (ExCo) why tear gas was used ”
Mrs Fanny Law, member of ExCo on 29th September 2014
“You have done nothing wrong despite the criticisms and condemnation from the public about us in the 928 Incident”
Internal briefing held by Andy Tsang Police Commissioner, 1 Oct 2014
“The occupiers are breaking the law, adversely affecting other people’s livelihood, and seriously undermining the rule of law.”
Steve Hui, Chief SuperintendentPress conference between the dates of 29 September and 8 November 2014
Implications and Limitations
Theoretically speaking, the framework of utilizing procedural justice and moral alignment of values could be the perfect model in promoting legitimacy and police-civilian cooperation. In the case of Hong Kong, the study conducted by Cheng (2015, 2018) indicated the presence of positive correlation between the attitude of the public towards the courts (i.e. lower perceived legitimacy in civilians if the court does not stand morally align with the civilians), procedural justice and legitimacy, thus suggesting that the legacy of autonomy and rule left by its former colonial parent has been successfully retained. Though each research study in procedural justice may not be generalizable due to being associated to a context-specific topic. However, the underlying theory is applicable to different legal institutions in understanding the notions of legitimacy. From a macro-level perspective, there is a U-shaped relationship between age and political satisfaction, birth cohort and period effect in Hong Kong (Wong, Zheng, Wan, 2017). Young people (age 20-30) have lower level of satisfaction than senior citizens but satisfaction and rating are higher than the middle-aged population. Henceforth, it can be imagined as the following sequence: (1) Elderly > (2) Young > (3) Middle. Clearly as it seems, it is obvious that the cohort effect does not indicate a linear relationship in satisfaction when the quality of life in Hong Kong has elevated over the years. By the same token, this also indicated that each cohort (i.e. per decade: 1980s, 1990s and 2000s) have moved on towards the post-materialistic values, thereby explaining their sense of critical and developing involvement towards politics. Of course, age is not the only contributing stimuli of political satisfaction. Instead, social political developments (i.e. social housing) is also another indicator in predicting or understanding the level of political satisfaction of an individual.
Though there were interesting/unique empirical data gathered in this case study (i.e. conflicting data from Hong Kong University and Hong Kong Police Force), the main limitation of this case analysis lies within the limited pool of sources available for interpretation.
The Hong Kong Police Force has a tripartite complain system, each organization having its own role in taking care of the feedbacks that are filed against the police (Smith, 2014).
Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC): Investigation of police corruption
Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO): Investigation of police misconduct
Independent Police Complaints Council Ordinance: Monitor and reviewing CAPO
As Wong (2010) denotes, there is a lack of reliable, legitimate empirical evidence in measuring the efficiency of the institution in accordance with the public opinion of the police force. In other words, how is it therefore possible to for either critics or the officials conclude the flaws or strength of the institution when the findings are largely based on survey or opinion responses from a miniscule size? Furthermore, complaints are also hard to extract and analyse because of their individual ways of recording evidence which are often altered due to policy and procedural reforms (Smith, 2014). Between 1974 and 2012, the ICAC has recorded 22,651 independent reports filed against the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF). Out of the 22,651 reports, 12,254 cases were investigated, 990 cases underwent criminal prosecution, resulting in 351 convictions in the members of the HKPF. Comparing these figures with the statistics from IPCC, one may question the purpose and efficacy of overall criminal justice system. Between 2003 and 2013, 170 proceedings (five criminal, 165 disciplinary) were issued upon the HKPF as referred by CAPO investigations (n = 16,242). Upon comparing the figures, one may ask why is it that the statistical figures recorded by CAPO significantly lower than ICAC? If there are indications of high levels in police corruption, the number of recorded cases from CAPO should be tally against ICAC. More notably, the fact that the IPCC approved every case complaint it receives between 2003 to 2013 generates the impression of the Council ‘rubber stamping’ paperwork in producing positive results to maintain the reputation of the institution (Smith, 2014). Archived records from ICAC have also revealed that that 85.4 percent of the police corruption complaints between 1978 and 1989 were not reported to the institution by the police. With all these points and queries mentioned, it must be noted that the data provided by the official authorities have severe issues with validity. Another limitation of this case study is the exclusion of using media sources. Although the comparison of independent and state media publishers may reflect their individual political stance towards, allowing further content analysis to be discovered, most articles are seen to replicate content and data from either the official or academic bodies (Chan and Chan, 2012).
On the bright side, most empirical data (governmental and non-governmental sources) used in this case study are based on surveys, with approximately similar levels of participation (1000 participants, rounded up to nearest thousand).
Based on the current literature and evidence, it can be concluded that the public tend to perceive the police as a legitimate force when discussing the efficiency of institution in solving day-to-day policing. However, those who are part of the younger generation (born after 1980s) are seen to hold a more analytical attitude towards the police during events of civil disorder. Vice versa, the pioneer generations of Hong Kong and those with higher income often indicates higher level of police satisfaction and perceived level of legitimacy in the HKPF. Nevertheless, a thorough, comprehensive research framework or model would be required in the future to fully measure the level of perceived legitimacy in Hong Kong.
Case Study 2 – Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement
What would it be if one applies the same question towards Taiwan? Would the perception towards police be the same as Hong Kong? In this section, these questions will be answered accordingly.
History of Taiwan
Having a shape of sweet potato, sits an island that is 100 miles away from the South-Eastern Coast of Mainland China, a state known as Taiwan (formerly known as Formosa during the 17th century) that shares an interesting but yet paradoxical political identity with China (Hebenton and Jou, 2014). Much alike Hong Kong, the history of Taiwan has a slightly more unique blend history with the contributions of constant transfer of leadership over the sovereignty of Taiwan. The history of Taiwan can also be partitioned into three eras: Imperial China (1683-1895); Colonial Japan (1895-1945); Nationalist Taiwan (1945 – present). While Hong Kong was enjoying its monumental transformation in 1950, the destiny of Taiwanese was sealed once again. First, it was colonised by the Japanese Empire. Now, the arrival of another legion who spoke in a foreign accent – the Nationalist Party (Tien and Shiau, 1992). It was unknown to the local civilians that these militants would be the ones who will soon declared the right to rule over Formosa. On May 10, 1948, the Chinese nationalist party, Kuomingtang (KMT) launched the Temporary Provisions (The Provisional Amendment for the Period of Mobilization of the Suppression of Communist Rebellion) while still in Mainland. Under the conditions of the provisions, the constitutional tenures prescribed the role of the president were exempted (Cao, Sun, Huang, 2014).
For 38 years, Taiwan was ruled by Generalissimo Chiang’s martial law with the back up support of the the two institutions – National Security Council and Taiwan Garrison Command, apportioning the right to rule with absolutism powers. At that point in time, the social political state of Taiwan was somewhat similar in China. The notion of “rule of law” was completely defined by the administration of the KMT who followed the footsteps of Lenin, binding the organs and agents of the society (i.e. police and armed forces; legislative/executive/judicial). On an interesting note, although Chiang was inspired by the philosophies held by Lenin, he was also interested by the work of Karl Marx. In accordance to the monopolised economic policies, it was in no time that Taiwan prospered in economy as it embarked on its journey towards industrialisation and capitalism, increasing its average annual per capita income from $50 to $3175 USD from 1941 to 1985 (Chou and Nathan, 1987; Jacob, 1971). In contrast to his contributions, the rough, punitive rule of law could be seen in the era of White Terror (1947-1987) that began on February 28, whereby anyone found accused or suspected of disobeying the orders (i.e. scholars, political elites) from the KMT were silenced through the shots of gunfire (Chen, 2008; Wu, 2005). Sadly, the official figures of death tolls nowhere to be retrieve but it is estimated that the death tolls exceed tens of thousands, making it one of the most gruesome events in Taiwanese history. The regime also utilised the education system and media sectors to further extended its control, promoting nationalistic ideologies and political values to reconstruct the minds and heart of the future generation.
In the early years of policing in Taiwan, two policing institutions were founded: (1) National Police Agency and (2) Investigation Bureau, each being placed beneath the respective centralised governmental bodies (i.e. Ministry of Justice) that were within the executive system (Cao, Sun, Huang, ibid). Back then, the entire policing institution was operated by military generals. In a way, the military and police were interlocked, the police were like paramilitary units that served as the extension of the military. Despite of its service and contribution in conducting missions and operations for the government, the police as an organisation were never involved in governmental politics. Having this said, the police force was the medium between the party-state and public. In those days, police officers were injected with revolutionary mentality, guarding the philosophical ideals (Three Principles of People: Nationalism, Democracy, Government for the People) left by the late founding father, Sun Yet-Sun. In terms of the actual day-to-day policing in Taiwan, the application of using field stations (paichusuo) that were once introduced by the Japanese were continued whilst the KMT introduced the Police Law in 1953, the first ever legal documentation that elucidates the role of the police institution. The tasks of the police extend from public safety to maritime policing, criminal affairs to the promulgation of public laws and punishment of those who violates the law. However, the death of Chiang Kai Shek led to the gradual acceptance of democracy when his son, Chiang Ching Kuo (CCK) was assigned as Vice-Premier on June 25, 1969 (Jacob, 1973).
As soon as CCK took over, two immense problems stood in front of him and his team. The Taiwanese government now faces a two-frontier battle, one that is domestic and the other that is international. China has won the interest of the United States through an annual bidding on the United Nation’s Security Council thus pushing away Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) from the international platform (Rubinstein, 1999). Corresponding to this, right of ownership of Senkaku Islands (also referred as Diaoyudao/Diaoyutai Islands) were allocated to Japan despite the historical roots and evidence provided by Taiwan. Nevertheless, it was the growth of local political activism that sowed the seeds of democracy. Given that the father and son had a brutal past in military warfare (i.e. both were involved in the February 28 Massacre), CCK made a vital decision that paved the dreams and ideologies left by Dr Sun Yet-Sen. Instead of following the footsteps of his father, CCK decided to embrace a softer form of authoritarian rule since then. To Chiang Ching K, it was an opportunity to him to understand the hearts and culture of the native Taiwanese inhabitants. Despite of his efforts in promoting civic participation within KMT’s governmental organs (i.e. National Assembly) and social welfare for the poor, the hearts of the people were never tamed. Of course, there were those whom joined the KMT while majority of the Taiwanese resisted the identity of being a citizen of ROC, rejecting the legitimacy and sovereignty of the KMT. In the 1980s, CCK shifted the ideological mottos and virtues of ‘revolution’ that were once engraved by his father to the notion of preserving law and harmony with a professional policing organisation/institution with Americanised systems (Cao, Sun, Huang, ibid). Without delay, instantaneous changes were observed as the policing structure entered the stages of structural reform (i.e disbandment of Garrison Command; introduction of new laws: Civil Organisation Law and Assembly Law), equipping itself with the latest technologies such as radios and cars. (Hebenton and Jou, 2014, p. 254-255). It was the Chiang’s stress of transmuting revolutionary to professionalism ideals were one of the secondary steps of the state in converting to less authoritarian society (Jacobs, 1973).
Despite of the exponential growth of wealth that was pouring into the Taiwan, a by-product was manufactured, idealism of democracy that began to influence the those from the middle-class, those who began having the mind of “us versus them” whenever they used the term “wai-shen jen” (mainlanders in Taiwanese native tongue) amongst their conversations. Companies and producers gradually internalized the business market culture that revere the essential ingredients that are seen in modern business projects (Cheng, 1989). A wise trader would maximize his or her routes of commerce from any possible routes of new and old interpersonal relations while understanding the needs and desires of the consumer simultaneously against present state of the market meant higher profits and recognition for the business in the future. Thus, these principles were applied by the members of the middle class. They began to observe the interactions around them, coming up with critical questions such as: Why would not voters’ preference dictate the future of public policies? Why are political entrepreneurs denied for the electoral market when local business elites entered the international markets, contesting with other powerful opponents? (Cheng, 1989).
By the end of 1970s, the impossible was made possible. Many localist candidates who were unaffiliated with the KMT manage to win their seats within various governmental bodies and positions (i.e. Magistrates, Taiwan Provincial Assembly etc.). Unfavourably, not every electoral campaign was successful. At that point in time, the frequencies of ballot vote count in appearing irregular were common. However, the public decided it was time to take the matter onto the streets upon hearing the news KMTs rigging the election for the Provincial Assembly in 1977 (Ming, 1996; Rubinstein, 1999; Xiansheng, 2003). In the event of the riot, physical confrontations between police and protestors sighted, the police station was destroyed, resulting numerous casualties. Knowing the positive effects through public demonstrations, the localists influencers called for another demonstration two years later – Kaohsiung Incident (also known as Meilidao/Formosa Magazine Incident) 1979. The followed-up demonstration in 1979 was intended to celebrate Human Rights Day, an indirect methodology for advocating universal suffrage in Taiwan. Yet, the government seized the fortuity to arrest their political oppositions. Since then, the government tried limiting the freedom of speech to prevent further events that may disrupt the law and order of society. Enthrallingly, CCK was selective with certain groups and community since outbroke of the two events (Winckler, 1983). Civic protests and demonstrations were allowed, but not large-scale rallies as that may be an signify possibilities of physical engagement, a signification that is gravely feared by the KMT, knowing that further strains and tensions of the society could cause them in losing grip of the local population. Henceforth influential leaders (i.e. priests, politicians) were supervision with high attention, but certain groups (i.e. Yi Kuan Tao, indigenous cult) that were less volatile in political nature were left unsupervised.
In his final years of presidency (1986-1988), CCK decided that it was time to uplift the martial law and introduce democracy over Taiwan. However, there were certain members of the KMT who repudiated the notion and tried securing their power through the imprisonment of the political oppositions (i.e. pro-democracy influencers), generating another wave of social dispute and public rallies. Ultimately, Chiang’s persuasiveness and negotiation skills granted him the decision of lifting the martial law, thus giving official legal status for the localist opposition parties (known as the Democratic Progressive Party, DPP) to debate against their opponent. In 2000, Taiwan had elected its first president (Chen Shui-bian), a politician of the DPP who has been suppressed by the military (Fravel, 2002).
As a state that has been transitioning over the past four decades, the professionalism of the Taiwanese police force is far from meeting the underlying elementary requirements of a true, democratic society despite of its change in role in becoming a facilitator from an inhibitor (Cao, Huang and Sun, 2016). The definition of criminal behaviour has evolved, with each act/behaviour classified under the sub-categories of a type of crime (i.e. physical – physical assault, manslaughter, homicide). Though the understanding towards a criminal act can be universal, the perception and response taken by a society may vary across from one to another. In Taiwan, there are no classifications or descriptions for violent crimes. In fact, the term ‘violent crime’ has never existed in the Taiwanese judicial document, The Code of Criminal Procedure. Incomparably, crime rates such as murder and robbery are recorded by the police for academic and institutional research purposes. To make it more interesting, statistical rates of motor vehicle theft were excluded from the police records till 1979 (Annual Taiwan Crime Statistcs Report, 1974, 1986 and 1990, as cited in Hebenton and Jou, ibid). These ‘unknown’ or ‘hidden crimes’ that were left in the shadow fabricated between 54-87 percent between 1974 to 1990. Several questions now stand in front of researchers. Given the situation that Taiwan is still in the midst of progression from its authoritarian past, it is logical for the societal agents such as the police to experience the unpredicted waves of turbulence as the time goes by. With that said, it has been 31 years since the lift of martial law, 18 years since Taiwan entered the 21st century and yet one may question the validity and reliability of the official statistics. Could the statistical figures be based on the current opinion towards crime held society? Or could it be actual figures that are recorded by the police? In Taiwan, official census is first gathered by police departments (NPA) and then reported to other law enforcement agencies (i.e. Investigation Bureau of Ministry of Justice – White collar crime; Coast Guard Command and Military Police – drug related activities). More importantly, the use of self-reported questionnaires in collecting data in the Taiwanese policing institutions was only introduced in the early 2000s whereas the western nations like United States and UK were had its system in function since the 1970s and 80s.
As a young nation-state, the self-discovery journey towards democracy has just began.
Origin and development of The Sunflower Movement
On the evening of 18th March 2014, hundreds of demonstrators compromising of civic activists and students flooded into the premises of the Taiwanese legislature, swarming their way through the defensive lines held by the police, breaking into the chambers of the building (Ho, 2015; Wright, 2014). For a total of 24 days, a governmental building was occupied by students, a surprising, unexpected social phenomenon for Taiwan. With updates and livestream being broadcasted on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, it was in no time that the incident gained its attention on the international headline (i.e. BBC and CNN) as foreign scholars and senior media journalists discussed the latest updates of the social movement. The name of the incident: 318 or Sunflower Movement derived from the local media, when a supportive local florist started distributing more than a thousand fresh sunflowers to the front-line protestors of the Legislative Yuan later that evening (Ho, 2015; Rowen, 2015; Wright, 2014). The event was instituted by local university students who were angered by the lack of consent and transparency of the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) promoted by the previous Taiwanese President, Mr Ma Ying-jeou.
In the past, local Taiwanese students have shown their bravery and willingness to express their opinions towards the government (Harrison, 2015; Hsieh and Skelton, 2017). In 1990, a six-day student demonstration (Wild Lily Student Movement) was held on the grounds of the Liberty Square, the public plaza of Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, launched by the National Taiwan University. Since the uplifting of the martial law, a presidential election called to replace the current leader, Chiang Ching Kuo. The election was triumphed by ex-president, Lee Teng-hui who ran as the only candidate for the referendum. Students hailed for democratic elections for the nation’s leader as well as representatives of the National Assembly. In 2008, the Wild Strawberries movement was initiated by students who were calling for universal human rights. On the 6th of November 2008, the chairman of ARATS (Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits) came to Taiwan for a governmental meeting. Any symbolization or behaviour of showing ‘Anti-Mainland’ sentiment or ‘Taiwanese Independence’ is not acceptable. Under the name of public order and stability, the police were granted the authority to deploy a variety of mechanisms to control the situation (i.e. arrest, detain, inspection, entering household units, confiscate etc.). In response, students came together and demonstrated their anger in the form of sit-in protests across different parts of Taiwan. However, both events were not as significant as the Sunflower Movement, with up to 350,000 protestors standing in front of the Presidential Office Building with speeches and songs that cries for the elected leadership in listening to the voices of the future generations of Taiwan (Rowen, 2015).
In his first term administration, ex-President Ma Ying-jeou stated his views and policies with working with the Chinese government; he believed in “economy first, politics second”. In his opinion, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (introduced in 2010) was a great opportunity for Taiwan to expand its trading sectors with China. ECFA can be imaged as an extensive set of contracts which both parties negotiate between each other to settle the “ideal deal” in correlation with the legal protective mechanisms (Hughes, 2014). Among the list of deals in ECFA, one of the included agreements that was the CSSTA (Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement). According to the terms and conditions of the CSSTA, a total of 144 sector industries will be deregulated for tree trading. On the surface, the CSSTA may appear as an ordinary business agreement when there might be the presence of hidden, underlying political agendas (Lai, 2018). One of the ultimate goals held by Mainland China is to reunite Taiwan and Hong Kong. During his presidential term-time, Ma has been holding onto a positive attitude towards the Mainland Chinese government, which can be seen in his supportive viewpoint of the ECFA and CSSTA trading pact, favoring the Chinese government for future possibilities in reunification of the two states. On the other hand, critiques and skeptics of the agreement hypothesizes otherwise, arguing that it the CSSTA trading agreements would breed more harm than good. Compared to Taiwan, the financial strength of the Chinese government is far more powerful and influential. For this reason alone, annexing Taiwan through careful implementation of economic policies can be easily accomplished. As part of the EFCA framework, all follow-up agreements from the negotiation talks will be take effect within six months. Without carrying any form of risk assessment or impact evaluation, the Ma administration signed the agreement, forcing Taiwan to enter the negotiation talks with little knowledge of the possible repercussions (Hughes, ibid). When asked to provide an official report, some legislators realized that the documentation papers provided by the government submitted was an impact evaluation written for the ECFA trade agreement in 2010. Deeply upset and enraged by the government, local Taiwanese students decided to occupy the Legislative Yuan (legislature building) in response to the lack of clarity and transparency of the government, stating that the negotiation is like a “black box” process, contradicting to the values of the principles of KMT (Three Principles of People).
It must not be misunderstood that those who participated the protest are against having economic ties and relationships with China. Rather, those who joined the demonstrations were upset with the lack of legitimacy and autonomy from the government. If one were to place his sole in their shoes, it is understandable why the young activists are afraid and angered by the economic pact. Three decades ago, the annual estimate for college graduates in Taiwan was 28,000 (Hughes, ibid). Today, the amount has multiplied, producing up to 230,000 a year with a monthly salary of $30,000 NTD (approximately $985 USD). No matter how hard they try, the current generation will be able to enjoy the lives led by their parents because of the ascending growth of real estate prices caused by the rich and business corporates in the Taiwanese society. On top of this, foreign Chinese investors have been stimulating the housing prices up and pushing down the wages for the labour force (Wright, 2014). Due to the gap difference in average salary between Taiwan and China, the Chinese investors may always consider hiring Chinese workers who are willing to accept the pay. More importantly, the agreement allows Chinese immigrants to enter Taiwan legally for three years, renewing their visa and eventually having the rights of indefinite leave under the terms and conditions of the visa application ($300,000 USD). Combining this policy with the macro-level issues of economy faced in Taiwan, it is commonsensical for students and the participants of the Sunflower Movement to react with vexation. It was in no time for the students to identify the other visible flaws of the CSSTA as the news diffused across the corners of Taiwan. For instance, how is it fair that for Taiwan to only have economic relations with China’s Fujian Province (Hughes, ibid)? What are the underlying frameworks of legal protection should there be any issues? According to John Tkacik, an American academic who expertise in the field of Taiwanese economic and politics, he has pointed out several key issues of the trading pact (Hughes, ibid). Not only is the size between the two nations incomparable but the difference in culture among industries may only benefit China (i.e. Chinese service sectors are relatively large, but they are highly ethnocentric when compared to Taiwan’s small, but vibrant dynamic sectors). At the end of the day, the protestors of the Sunflower Movement have made it clear with their intentions of their agenda. They are neutral with having economic and financial ties with China, but it is vital for the state to produce a thorough assessment of the possible impact that it may bring to Taiwan as the agreements are highly likely to influence the future livelihoods of Taiwanese civilians.
Throughout the Sunflower Movement, there notion of perceived police legitimacy and procedural justice fluctuated for the next three weeks. On the first night of the sit-in occupation, the crowd grew from three hundred to a couple of thousands within a day. With the participation of other civic groups’ (i.e. Black Island Youth Nation Youth Front and Green Citizens’ Action Alliance) use of social media as a rally and broadcasting platform, it did not take long for the students for an estimate of ten thousand student stood around the legislature building (Brown and Li, 2014; Chao, 2014). In return, the National Police Agency activated the riot police in attempt to dismiss the crowd. The use of hard, coercive methodologies and tools were used: batons, barbed wires barriers and high-pressured water cannons were witnessed and condemned by the opposition party DPP and student protestors, stating that the attitude held by government have devolved, turning back to its authoritarian past (Au, 2017 Martin, 2015; Yeh, 2015). Although the police were imaged as hostile targets, there were also moments whereby the police officers were perceived as allies of the civilians. This sort of unity and between the police and demonstrators were posted around the legislature (slogan banners) while images were circulated on social media (Martin, 2015). Despite the short-lived moment of unity between the two groups, the unity of police-civilian was revived once again when a local gangster named Zhang An Le (nickname White Wolf) publicly announced that he was preparing for a counter party demonstration against the students of the Sunflower Movement. Having the presence of an illegal triad force entering the game gave the police momentary support as guardians of civil order. As the gangsters left, the alliance between the police and civilian came to an end.
Findings and Analysis
Reviewing retrievable available data and literature, it is revealed public confidence and satisfaction in the Taiwanese police force has been constantly since 1995 (TVBS, 2004; 2016) In the annual national criminal investigation reports published by the National Police Agency, there has been progressive improvements in the levels of perceived of legitimacy between 2010-2015 (59 to 77%) when civilians were asked upon their impressions of how justice is delivered in Taiwan (Lai and Zhang, 2016). Given the state’s gruesome history in policing and transition in political regime, the level of public confidence towards the police is surprisingly high, in contrast against other countries (i.e. Korea and Philippines) who once had a similar past (Cao and Dai, 2006; Gingerich, Chu and Chang, 2011).
Recent statistics from Numbeo (2018) has ranked Taiwan in one of the top ten nations that in terms public safety on a global level. Comparing against Hong Kong, Taiwan holds a slightly higher position in both aspects, 7th in overall index of crime (21.42) and safety (78.58) meanwhile Hong Kong is ranked two places behind (crime index 21.97; safety – 78.03). In 2017, the National Policy Foundation (NPF) conducted a nation-wide report study to examine present perceptions held by the public towards the up-to-date political matters in Taiwan. The aims of the report range from one to another (i.e. Feedback towards the contribution of President Tsai; public opinion towards the DPP administration), including a detailed examination of how the public view the seven types of civil servants of Taiwan.
Ranking of perception Level of satisfaction held by public
Governmental Tax Officer 55.8%
Armed Forces 55.6%
Administrative civil officers 44.4%
Criminal prosecutors 43.6%
Central Intelligence Bureaus 38.5%
Table 1Source: National Policy Foundation (2017)
Results of the opinion data conducted by the NPF is as shown as above. It is discovered that 74%: of the participants holds a positive perception towards the police constables (with 15% rated strongly positive) while 20%: of the participants have negative impression (5.1% rated strongly negative) against them (SETN, 2017). According to the NPF, it is believed that the police officers are like servants of the Taiwanese society, accepting responding to a variety of situations and scenarios (i.e. maintaining social order, maintenance of traffic, settling civic/personal disputes among civilians), thus giving public credits and recognition to the Taiwanese police force (Hou, 2013; SETN, ibid). Local media polls announced that over 40% members of public thinks that there has been a reduction in the amount of power when being conducting their civil duties. Participants of the poll suggested that police should exhibit higher levels of authoritarianism and power to enforce law and order when facing confrontational situations such as riots and demonstrations (Police Broadcasting Service, 2017).
“Police are like ninja turtles, able to withstand any form of stress. The efforts invested by the police has been revealed in the eyes of the public”
Research specialist of the Ministry of Interior
Ye Shu-fen (2017)
Though most articles and research (including independent studies from non-governmental sectors) has been underscoring the similar implications and findings across the years, three lists of captivating findings were in the Taiwan Mood Barometer Survey that was conducted during the occurrence of the Sunflower Movement (Taiwan Indicator Survey Research, 2014a; 2014b; 2014c). On average, the barometer survey was conducted every 80 to 90 days, each featuring critical implications throughout the stages as the event unwraps itself, taking shape of its own in time.
Survey 1 – Conducted in early March 2014
Survey 2 – Conducted in late July 2014
Survey 3 – Conducted in late September 2014
Questions and Results of Survey 1 (March)
Do you think that the occupation national assembly protects or harm democracy?
54% thinks that such behaviour harms democracy
35% believes that students are protecting the development of democracy
Do you agree with the students have to right to claim for a nationwide strike due to the use of coercive force from the police violence? Bloodshed and injury were seen during the confrontation.
Cross analysis indications:
Mixed findings were found in participants between:
20-24 years old: 24.7% (agree); 50% (disagree)
Pan-DPP supporters: 49.3% (agree); 42.6% (disagree)
Questions and Results of Survey 2 (July):
Civil officers (i.e. inspectors, police officers) are fair when delivering justice. Do you agree?
KMT-party supporters (when asked upon the same questions)
Would it be possible for the criminal justice system to be independent, free from the influence of the president or the executive party who is currently in power?
KMT supporters (when asked upon the same questions)
Questions and Results of Survey 3 (September):
Debate and lack of trust towards the head of legislature: Wang Jing-ping
50.3% believes that Wang has violated the values and spirit of democracy, 21.1% indicates
When asked upon the views of Wang’s decision in sending the police into the legislature chamber:
Disagree: 46.0%Implications and Limitations
Like the Hong Kong case study, there is low amount of empirical evidence (i.e. governmental or non-governmental surveys indicators) that mirrors the level of perceived legitimacy and police-civilian relationship before and after the occurrence of the Sunflower Movement, but the official data available for assessment is slightly wider in variance in comparison to the analysis of Hong Kong. Based on the empirical evidence gathered for the analysis of this case study, all official and non-official (i.e. academic, 3rd party research group, media polls) documents indicated consistent levels of results in measuring the attitude towards the political affairs in Taiwan (i.e. level of trust towards the various type of civil officers; perception towards executive government, difference in generation populations etc.).
Through the analysis of Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement, it can be concluded that the perception held towards the police is relatively positive, outlining the level of respect and position of the police within the hearts of the civilians (refer to table 1). More importantly, implications of the wider concepts such as the relationship of civil society and national identity (Ho, 2018), issue of procedural and performance legitimacy of a democratic society (Hsieh, 2016), the clash of civil disobedience and liberal principle can be discussed at length (Su and Jones, 2017; Yeh, 2015; Pan, 2015). Whilst it can be summarized with the current available evidence that most Taiwanese civilians perceives the police as a positive figure of authority, there is limited qualitative studies or evidence that documents the attitude and perceptions among Taiwanese civilians during the occurrence of social protests or movements.
As a state that was once ruled with strong, authoritarian philosophy, the notion of law and legitimacy in Taiwan can be described as a conglomeration between the rule of law and the rule of man. By inference to the work of Martin (2007), he describes policing in Taiwan a “complex social topography in which a variety of often deeply conflicted relationships between legal instrumentality and intimate solidarity must be carefully managed”.
In Taiwan, the use of neighborhood police-post (paichusuo) has been instated since the Japanese occupation. Each police-post covers an area or number of household (i.e. 300 household unit), with patrolling police officers to assigned to individual sections of the neighborhood. It is expected that the police officers are help the issues and disputes among residents by playing the role of a third-party meditator, resolving the issue through the form negotiation. When encountering street-crimes or civic disputes, informal policing is initiated (i.e. verbal warning), only utilizing strict enforcement when necessary. Under the perception of the society, “good policing” refers to having a cooperative relationship with the authorities. Therefore, the rule of law in Taiwan is the polymerization of the three ingredients: reason, sentiment, law (Martin, ibid). Indubitably, the fermentation of a ‘healthy relationship’ between civilians and police through the endorsement of law and sentiment fabricates higher rates of perceived legitimacy and satisfaction in the eyes of the policed, but such measurements also contrives the debate of legitimacy and corruption. For instance, politicians may reach out to county representatives (i.e. mayor, representative of the police council county) to resolve the issues in forming better reputation for the next local town council election. In the same way, there might be individuals having complicated, “friendly” personal affiliations with higher authorities, preventing the issue from being reported by the media via offering red envelope to the police officer(s) as a form of appreciation. One one hand, it can be suggested that the individual who offered the token of appreciation may prefer to keep a low profile for various reasons. On the other hand, one may denounce and criticize such behaviour as unethical or unofficial bribery.
For the Taiwanese police force, policing in Taiwan is a thorny moral dilemma. Failure to settle civic disputes may cause negative reputation for the police station, while the use of discretion may spark off debates and dissatisfaction from the public. In short, the Taiwanese police force is not just the guardian of the society that governs law and order. Rather, it is a personal servant of the public, take care of the child (civilians) of its parent (society). Perhaps, it is the contradicting but yet interesting rule of law (sentiment, reason and law) in Taiwan that built up consistent levels of trust and satisfactions towards the police over the past few decades.
Philosophically questioning, one may ask why is it that the public believes and promote the concept intimate relationship networking (sentiment) when it is the binary opposition of transparency and autonomy (rule of law)? Why is it that the public has a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption when it enjoys having the benefits (i.e. having verbal warnings instead of a fine) from informal police relationships?
These unanswered questions pose the wider implications of the Taiwanese society, which cannot be explained within this dissertation. To fully understand the concept of legitimacy and the rule of law in Taiwan, further research and assessments will be required in the future.
This paper examines the perceptions held towards police legitimacy and trust during the events civil disorder in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Upon reviewing the sociopolitical history of the two states, similarities and differences were discovered, explaining the development of certain social phenomena (i.e. police-civilian relationship in Taiwan and Hong Kong). In the comparative analysis of the two recent events (Sunflower Movement and Umbrella Movement) that occurred in 2014, current literature and empirical findings suggest that civilians of Hong Kong have always perceived the police force in a negative limelight in the past, whereas the police-civilian relationship has been gradually improving since the uplift of martial law in 1987. Though both social movements generated waves of criticisms, lowering the reputation of the police during the event, it was in no time that the levels of public confidence and legitimacy towards the police in Taiwan returned to where it once was, while the rates remained the same in Hong Kong.
The two social events are no ordinary social movements. The Sunflower Movement not only altered the politics of Taiwan (Jones, 2015b), but also tested Tyler’s model of procedural justice to reality whilst contesting sociological imaginary questions and hypothesis of Weber and Durkheim theorists. It also reflected a list of sociological implications that are present in the two states. For example, the notion of localism identity in Hong Kong and Taiwan (Kwan, 2016; Tsai, 2007). How did a social demonstration like the umbrella movement turn into a participatory, unofficial national referendum (Chen, 2015)? How ‘liberal’ is Taiwan? How is it possible for Taiwanese students to occupy legislature chamber for twenty-four consecutive days? The informal, friendly police-civilian relationship, is it truly exhibiting the spirit of community policing or internal corruption and bribery (Bardhan, 1997)? In any form of regime, trust and legitimacy and trust is the central force between the interactions of the state and its civilians (Riggers, 1999). However, it must be remembered that the notion of procedural legitimacy and justice is a theoretical concept, whereas the history and current political affairs are the forces of reality.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to decode the relationship between police-trust and legitimacy in Taiwan and Hong Kong within this dissertation, but numerous unique implications and insights were identified during the production of this literature review. To fully understand the relationship between the police and civilians, further research would be required. Such research would require a detailed framework or model in examining the longitudinal change in perceptions and attitude through exploratory and interpretative measurements (i.e. interviews and cohort studies).