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External actors and democratization : the Hong Kong case

Authors Au-yeung, Chi-kong
Issue Date 1996
Summary Democratization in Southern and Eastern Europe, Latin America and East Asia between the 1970s and 1990s highlight the significant role of such external actors as the United States, the Soviet Union and the European Community. This thesis therefore intends to use Hong Kong as a case study to show how external actors help and constrain democratic transition. In the case of Hong Kong, due to the interference of the external actor, the People's Republic of China (PRC), Hong Kong has evolved through three periods of democratization: (1) a pre-democratization era before 1982; (2) a period of limited democratization between 1984 and 1991; and (3) a phase of further democratization in the period 1992- 1994. I wil1 argue that China helps and constrains transition in Hong Kong simultaneously. Due to the promise of a "high degree of autonomy" after the resumption of sovereignty in 1997, the PRC triggered democratization in the early 1980s. However, the PRC feared that democratic development would insulate Hong Kong from the exercise of sovereignty and threaten authoritarian rule in the mainland after 1989. Thus, the PRC's attempt to constrain democratic transition caused the demands for a faster pace of democratization. The Hong Kong case supports Huntington's argument that external actors can hinder or promote democratization in another sovereign countries in order to achieve top national policy objectives. In the case of Hong Kong, the external actor, the PRC, hindered transition because of its sovereignty and security concerns. However, in contrast to Huntington and Przeworski, the PRC stimulated, helped and constrained democratization throughout the period under discussion. As Hong Kong will be politically absorbed into China in 1997, China played a more important role in democratic transition than Huntington and Przeworski argue. Thus, the Hong Kong case represents a unique example in democratic transition under external influence.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 1996
Language English
Format Thesis
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