This book has had a lengthy gestation. I started writing a few initial chapters when I conducted my D. Phil thesis at Oxford University between 1988 and 1993. On returning to Hong Kong from Britain in 1993, I found the tortuous democratization in Hong Kong had reached a new phase. The wrangles, mobilizations, and counter-mobilizations over democratization attained a new height at that point and in the rest of the last few years of British rule over Hong Kong under the governorship of Chris Patten. Following that, the reversal of Hong Kong’s limited democracy immediately after its return to China soon unfolded still another new page in Hong Kong’s winding democratic development. I thus decided to extend the coverage of the book again to cover Hong Kong’s post-handover period up until mid-2002, i.e., five years after the handover.
Writing this, the most arduous academic work of my life to date, has been both a demanding and rewarding job. I owe thanks to a great many people whose help and encouragement, advice, and support have been crucial to the completion of this multi-year project.
Thanks must go to Professor Andrew Nathan and Professor Alvin So, who have offered me perceptive and encouraging comments on my long draft. I would also like to thank my former university supervisor Laurence Whitehead. His perceptive remarks and prompt reading of my work have been most helpful. My sincere thanks must also be extended to Professor Juan J. Linz. His awesome stock of knowledge about democratization and vigorous criticisms always forced me to be more critical of what I had written. His advice made my exchange program at Yale University in 1990 an unforgettable one.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to the following people who gave me useful comments on my work at various stages: C. Y. Cheung, Dr. Paul Hart, and Professor Robert Scalapino.
I am very grateful to the following friends for their timely help at various stages: M. Y. Kan, Debby Chan, Jethro Chiu, Carol Hau, Ruby Chan, Jason Tomes, K. M. Kwan, C. Y. Cheung, S. M. Mok, Jerome Chiu, Freddy Mang, Kennis Wong, Annie Wu, Elaine Chan, P. Domingo,