Origins of Hong Kong’s semi-democratic status
This chapter examines the case of Hong Kong, which shares a number of intriguing commonalities with Taiwan. It argues that the British colonial administration’s decision against democratisation in the early 1950s and the belated political liberalisation of its colonial regime in the early 1980s left a rather weak democratic legacy following the return under People’s Republic of China sovereignty in 1997. The chapter shows that since the Chinese party-state agreed with the British government in 1984 to maintain Hong Kong’s capitalist system for the next 50 years, it could not engage in a wholesale dismantling of the city’s British colonial institutions following 1997. Hong Kong became part of the empire following the British victory in the first Opium War. Political change in Hong Kong in the post-World War II era was incremental at best and mostly limited to administrative reforms aimed at enhancing the performance of the colonial government.