The authoritarian Chinese regimes governing Taiwan, Mainland China, and Hong Kong allowed limited electoral competition during the last half century. In Taiwan that process evolved over more than three decades before leading to the formation of an opposition party under martial law in late September 1986 and the blossoming of full democracy In March 2000 when that opposition party replaced the ruling party. In Mainland China and Hong Kong, limited electoral competition has only evolved over the last fifteen years or so. This volume examines why and how limited electoral competition developed in Greater China.
The editors use a typology and different concepts to analyse how the political centre in these three Chinese societies historically interacted with society and how different regime change took place. Their analysis attributes Taiwan's robust electoral competition under martial law to political breakthroughs in the political, ideological, economic, and organizational marketplaces. Without similar political breakthroughs in Mainland China and Hong Kong, their limited electoral processes are not likely to lead to the election of one or more opposition parties in Mainland China and the direct election of a Hong Kong governor and parliament.
These two authoritarian regimes have adopted different institutions, or rules, to limit electoral competition. Moreover, different changes have been taking place in their political, ideological, economic, and organizational marketplaces than occurred in Taiwan. Therefore, whether these two Chinese societies can mimic the Taiwan democratization path remains problematic. Only the passage of time will reveal whether their limited electoral competitive processes can transform into full democracy.