Of Iron or Rubber?
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Aregional autonomy system is now commonly regarded as an optimal constitutional mechanism to manage and resolve regional, ethnic, or other conflicts within a state. The sustainable operation of an autonomy system depends on the existence of legally-entrenched processes and institutions at the national level that can effectively manage and accommodate regional identity and difference.1 The opportunities for and ability of an autonomy region to represent itself meaningfully in the national political process are a crucial index of the degree and strength of regional autonomy. Active engagement and effective representation in national politics by autonomous regions not only maintain and strengthen regional autonomy but also generate an integrative force that unites the region with the nation. The existence of procedures and institutions that form a bridge between autonomous regions and the nation is the prerequisite for the successful operation of autonomy, and the participation and representation of the autonomous regions in those bridging institutions create a dynamic process in which regional autonomy and national integration mutually reinforce each other.2
KeywordsChief Executive Central Authority Special Administrative Region National People South China Morning
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- 1.See Hurst Hannum, Autonomy, Sovereignty, and Self-Determination: The Accommodation of Conflicting Rights (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990); andGoogle Scholar