A game-theory model of democratization and political reform in Hong Kong

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This essay analyzes three attempts at political reform in post-handover Hong Kong by adapting game-theory models in studies of democratization. By modeling the strategic interactions and preferences of Beijing and the local democratic forces, the outcome of the political reform efforts are explained. As a conditioning factor in the model, it is argued that the strong strength of civil society in 2005 and 2015 ruled out any possible negotiation between the Beijing and the democrats, resulting in deadlocks and the eventual rejection of the proposals. In contrast, the weaker and apolitical nature of civil society in 2010 allowed moderate democrats to reach an agreement with Beijing over a proposed reform. This essay carries significant implications for Hong Kong-Beijing interactions, the political development of Hong Kong, as well as the literature on democratization. Copyright © 2016 TFD. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-154
JournalTaiwan Journal of Democracy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016



Wong, M. Y. H. (2016). A game-theory model of democratization and political reform in Hong Kong. Taiwan Journal of Democracy, 12(2), 127-154.


  • China
  • Democratization
  • Game theory
  • Hong Kong
  • Transition