Further democratic reversal in the post-handover period (mid-1997-2002)
With the unfolding of the third and fourth wave of global democratization, the total number of electoral democracies has jumped from 39 from 1974 to 120 in 2000 (Lipset et al.
, 2000) globally. Even in mid-2002, however, Hong Kong has not successfully finished its democratic transition. Chapter 7 reveals the new master of the post-handover Hong Kong was determined to change the limited democracy of Hong Kong by 1997 back to a more authoritarian one. Though democratization in Hong Kong has progressed slowly since the mid-1980s, it was drastically reversed within a few months after the handover of the territory from Britain to China.This chapter demonstrates how the Chinese Government and the post-handover Special Administrative Region (SAR) government have continued to undo the democratic structures prescribed by Patten by the following tactics after the handover:
|1 marginalizing the legislature and curbing its power to oversee the executive branch;|
|2 reinstating of appointed seats for District Councils;|
|3 abolition of Municipal Councils and curtailment of meaningfulness of political opposition.|
The latter part of the chapter discusses how those measures and other factors have further weakened public support for the pro-democratic opposition in general and the pro-democratic parties in particular. Taken as a whole, this chapter reveals the political handover of Hong Kong amid the agonizing economic crisis has not only brought about the dismantling of democratic structures, but also the ascribing of a low public priority to democratization.