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David Wen-wei Chang and Richard Y. Chuang, The Politics of Hong Kong’s Reversion to China
The Politics of Hong Kong's Reversion to China is a book completed in 1996, one year before the reversion of Hong Kong to China in 1997. It is about the major events leading to that transition. The volume is organised largely around the issues and in chronological order. After the brief introduction, the following chapters survey the controversy surrounding the joint declaration, the stationing of Chinese troops in Hong Kong, the right of abode for Hong Kong people, the unilateral implementation of the joint declaration by the British and the Chinese sides, the political developments in Hong Kong and the Court of Final Appeal. The book concludes with a reflection on the prospects for the unification of China. Overall, the authors seem optimistic that one country, two systems may well succeed and therefore should have a positive impact on China's reunification with Taiwan.
A theme in this book is not readily apparent. Nor do the authors offer much analysis of the politics of the transition. In fact those reading the book can expect to gain no more than some historical background, information on the major actors involved, and their views on the issues. The book relies heavily on press reports and makes no reference to academic publications on the subject. Neither are we offered interviews with any of the contending parties as none were conducted. The nature of the information sources dictates the nature of the book and reflects more the public debates about transitional issues, rather analysis and speculation of the situation and outcomes following closed-door negotiations among the powerful players. The nature and the processes of the power struggle that preceded the signing of the joint declaration and the drafting of the Basic Law are sparingly touched upon and therefore not analysed in any depth. In short, there is little about the politics of the reversion.
The chapter on political developments in Hong Kong is probably the least inspiring in this collection. The author may be excused for the superficial analysis of the local political parties since there is little research fodder in this regard. Yet materials aside, the author seems to be unaware of the literature and survey findings on the political culture and the identity of the people of Hong Kong that does exist and that would indeed have been pertinent to this chapter. This may account for the fundamental mis-representation about political trust in Hong Kong, that the people here trusted both Britain and China. (p. 133.)
On the whole, however, The Politics of Hong Kong's Reversion to China would be valuable reading for the general public who want a convenient introduction to the subject.