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This article by William H. Overholt, “Hong Kong: The Perils of Semidemocracy,” follows Hong Kong through its 1997 transition from British to Chinese rule and the consequences of this new “executive-led government” created by Beijing, London and Hong Kong’s local business establishment. The article highlights the progress that Hong Kong has already made toward democratization as well as systemic progress yet to be made, such as school, housing and civil service reform. The issue of Chinese sovereignty as well as Hong Kong’s difficulty in reforming itself is discussed in light of the country’s desire for rapid economic growth and democratization. Despite the formidable challenges that Hong Kong faces after its political transition, Dr. Overholt offers hopeful signs for not only Hong Kong but China as well.

Originally published in: Journal of Democracy, v. 12, no. 4, October 2001, pp. 5-18.

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