Over its sixty-seven-year history, officially, the People's Republic of China looked up to foreign countries as inspiration only twice. In the early 1950s the Soviet Union guided the Communist Party of China. Yet by 1969 the two countries nearly went to war over ideological and territorial disputes. Then, after a long hiatus, Deng Xiaoping's visit to Singapore in 1978 ushered in a prolonged period of keen interest in the city-state's recipe for economic success, write Niv Horesh and Jonathan Paris in "The National Interest" .
In Singapore, Deng found a dynamic and fast-growing polity run by ethnic Chinese, while Hong Kong was still a British colony. Partly for that reason, Hong Kong society could not be openly extolled by the Communist Party of China (CPC).