Economic prosperity or democracy : dilemma of development in Hong Kong and China

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Journal of Contemporary China

Publication Date






First Page


Last Page



After Hong Kong is integrated with mainland China in July 1997, the economic and political environments of the two places will inevitably link up with each other. Economic modernization significantly not only improves the living conditions of the Chinese, but also alters their social structure and political values. As such, economic prosperity and democracy become the two conflicting values in Hong Kong and China during the transition to 2000. The people of Hong Kong and China are presented a choice over two mutually exclusive targets: economic prosperity vs. democracy. On the one hand, the choice for economic prosperity' will imply no democracy because a conservative political system will be maintained to preserve the political status quo. On the other hand, the choice for democracy will imply no economic prosperity, because democratization will be suppressed and hence the economy will suffer as a result of political instability. However, neither of these two choices could offer the people of Hong Kong and China a genuine prosperity and stability. Therefore a congruent relationship between the economy and the political system must be established and maintained. As prosperity is contributed by both economic growth and political stability, neglection of either of these two elements will not result in a long-lasting prospering. Thus, economic development and democratization are two complementary, rather than contradicting forces on the road to development in China.



Print ISSN




Publisher Statement

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Additional Information

source: https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-0004272394&partnerID=40&md5=781f9b49eb2dbfc72b11a07c9ab62396

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Lam, J., & Mok, K. H. (1997). Economic prosperity or democracy: Dilemma of development in Hong Kong and China. Journal of Contemporary China, 6(16), 461-485. doi: 10.1080/10670569708724291