Hong Kong as a property jurisdiction

Hong Kong as a property jurisdiction
Maurice Yip


This study aims to explore how urban governance of Hong Kong is impacted by the formulation and implementation of the new constitutional order of “one country, two systems” that distinguishes between the British colonial government and the current government under Chinese sovereignty.


While the literature recognises the society of Hong Kong has been heavily relying on land and property activities, few attempts notice the uniqueness of Hong Kong’s sequential constitutional orders and its relations to those activities. This study presents a geographical enquiry and an archival study to illustrate the spatiality of the new constitutional order and its implications on land injustice. Drawing from the works of legal geography and urban studies, this study extends and clarifies Anne Haila’s conception of Hong Kong as “property state” to “property jurisdiction”.


Though common law and leasehold land system were perpetuated from the colonial period, the new constitutional order changed their practices and the underlying logic and ideology. The urban governance order of this property jurisdiction is intended for prosperity and stability of the society, and for the economic benefit and territorial integrity claim of the Chinese sovereignty.


This study enriches the literature of Hong Kong studies in three major areas, namely, the relationship with China, urban governance and land injustice. It offers a conceptual discussion, which contributes to comparative territorial autonomies studies. It also contributes to legal geography by providing insights beyond the western liberal democracy model.

Publication date

1 Jan 2022 – 30 Nov 2022

Journal title, volume/issue number, page range

Social Transformations in Chinese Societies, 18/1, 1 - 18




Social Sciences


Urban / Rural
National politics