The External Factor and Democratisation

  • Shiu-hing Lo


For O’Donnell and Schmitter, the ‘popular upsurge’ may encounter ‘selective repression, manipulation and cooptation by those still in control of the state apparatus’.1 Moreover, ‘when the transition is controlled relatively firmly and protracted by incumbents, the popular upsurge is less likely to occur, and where it does, it tends to be more confined in space and time’.2 Because O’Donnell and Schmitter emphasise the internal dynamics of democratisation, they do not consider the likelihood that the transition from authoritarianism may be ‘controlled firmly and protracted’ by external factors rather than by ‘incumbents’ in the ruling regime. In the case of Hong Kong, China becomes, as this chapter will discuss, the most important external factor influencing the process of democratisation. Moreover, the limited popular upsurge in Hong Kong during the 1980s stimulated China’s political mobilisation of pro-Beijing Hongkongers and ‘cooptation’ of elites. Later, this chapter will show that China used a number of strategies to coopt Hongkongers during the Basic Law drafting process and the late transition period.


Chief Executive Chinese Communist Party Political Reform Direct Election Democratic Reform 
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Copyright information

© Lo Shiu-hing 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shiu-hing Lo
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Hong KongChina

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