Introduction: Toward an Analytical Framework of Understanding the Context and Content of Policing
Although the scope of policing differs in these four places, the main question for us to answer is how the police forces have been responding to the rapidly changing socio-economic and political circumstances. If police forces can be regarded as the instrument of the states and city-states to maintain law and order, their internal development and responses to external challenges remain the indicators for us to comprehend the dynamic relationships between policing and politics. From a systemic perspective, the People’s Republic of China has a far more paternalistic state than the Republic of China on Taiwan, where the pluralistic and democratic state tolerates a relatively strong political opposition and mass media critical of the government in power. The one-party rule in mainland China is very different from the rotation of political power in Taiwan, where the island republic underwent three rotations of the political party in power: the change from the Kuomintang (KMT) presidential administration to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led by Chen Shui-bian in 2004, the return of Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT to presidency in 2008, and then the alternation back to the DPP presidency under Tsai Ying-wen in 2016. The gradual democratization of Taiwan in the 1980s and its democratic consolidation since the 1990s have forced the police to adapt to all socio-political transformations. The police in Hong Kong, unlike their counterparts in mainland China and Macao, have experienced democratization since the 1990s. Their adaptation to the socioeconomic and politicized circumstances has become necessary since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on July 1, 1997.