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JULY 2007, NUMBER SEVEN


So Far, So Good—But Not Yet Good Enough

By Frank Ching

None of the doom and gloom predictions about Hong Kong's political fate once Chinese sovereignty was established have come true, writes Frank Ching, a Hong Kong-based journalist and commetator, and its basic freeedoms have been retained. But he argues that the full promise of “one country, two systems” won't be honored until local citizens can freely elect their own local government as Beijing has pledged.

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Changing Expectations: How the Rule of Law Has Fared

By Danny Gittings

Hong Kong's common law legal system and the concept of judicial independence have come under great pressure since 1997, writes Danny Gittings, a barrister and former journalist who is now a professor specializing in Hong Kong's constitution law at the University of Hong Kong's School of Professional and Continuing Education. But the system has remained basically intact and there are reasons for at least limited optimism about the coming years.

By Ian Scott

The pace of consitutional reform has been Hong Kong's central political issue since well before the 1997 handover to Chinese sovereignty and remains unresolved, argues Ian Scott, currently a visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong and an adjunct professor at the City University of Hong Kong. He sees a window of opportunity—but a limited one—for settling the issue in ways that could promote long term stability and prosperity.

By William H. Overholt

As in politics, there were numerous gloomy economic predictions about Hong Kong's likely failure under Chinese rule—but the territory instead has prospered, writes William H. Overholt, Director of the Center for Asia Pacific Policy at the RAND Corporation. It survived the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s and other challenges, and has thrived as a key services base for China and the region. But there are pressing issues that will require visionary leadership if this prosperity is to endure.

By Sir Robin McLaren

Hong Kong under Chinese sovereignty has kept its basic strengths and has reason to be optimistic about the future—partly because it is in Beijing's own interests to act with restraint, writes Sir Robin McLaren, a former British ambassador to China and leader of the British team that negotiated the handover terms. However, many problems do linger and Hong Kong's challenge is to resolve them in ways that keep it off the agenda at future meetings of the Chinese Communist Party's politburo.


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