In the first half of 2003, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) suddenly struck China and Hong Kong, claiming many lives and causing panic. It also jolted their economic growth, disrupted the social life of their citizens, and created much stress and strain on their political systems and governance.
Like dealing with other “external shocks”, the management of the SARS crisis provides a good opportunity to examine the weaknesses and strengths of the political systems of China and its special administrative area, Hong Kong. Although both are Chinese communities, their political systems differ. China remains an authoritarian political system, despite the dramatic economic transformation that has occurred over the past two decades. Hong Kong inherited the British colonial political system with a rich tradition of rule of law and an efficient bureaucracy. Nevertheless, after its return to China, societal demands for greater democratization have increased. Given the different political settings of these two Chinese communities, it would be interesting to examine how they responded to the SARS crisis.
This informative but concise history of China and Southeast Asia is perfect for travelers, students, teachers, and businesspeople. Portable and attractively designed, it includes color illustrations, maps, and a brief history of the region. Explored are relations between China and Southeast Asia across two millennia; patterns of diplomacy, commercial networks, and migration; and how these have varied over time.
With a focus on modern history, this is a fascinating account of imperial ambition, internal collapse and revival, cultural and commercial endeavors, and war and revolution. Important insight into the complicated history of the fastest-growing region in the world is offered.