Friday, December 14, 2007

The SARS Epidemic

The SARS Epidemic: Challenges To China's Crisis Management

Author: John Wong, Zheng Yongnian

Publisher: World Scientific

Date: August 15, 2004

Pages: 234


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.

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