China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: The 2019 protests in Hong Kong marked a pivotal moment for Asia’s financial hub, China and the world. Massive peaceful demonstrations originally opposing the extradition of criminals to China grew into a society-wide uprising demanding full democracy, even independence, from China. For six months, the world was transfixed by real-time spectacles of a global city on the brink. An improbable revolution was gathering steam, only to be halted in 2020 first by a deadly coronavirus and then more fatally by a full-throttled crackdown. In the name of a new National Security Law, Beijing terrorized and demolished the city’s liberal institutions – the media, education, legislature, election, the common law court and more. Months of mass arrests and political persecutions roundly uprooted several generations of democratic political leadership. By mid-2021, Hong Kong’s status as a free and liberal haven has all but unraveled. But as Hong Kong fell, the West geared up for staunch condemnations and sanctions against China. For some, a “new Cold War” has begun.
How did we come to this? This panel, featuring doyens of Hong Kong Studies, examines the current crisis in the context of the continuities and ruptures in Hong Kong’s history (John Carroll), culture and identity (Wing-sang Law), ruling class formations (Tak-wing Ngo), rule of law (Jones) and popular mobilizations for democratization (Eliza Lee). Grounded in the Hong Kong experience, these presentations raise important questions about the dynamics and consequences of colonialism, internal colonialism, decolonization, authoritarian elite circulation, and the production of historical knowledge.
Paper Presenter: John M. Carroll – University of Hong Kong
Paper Presenter: Tak Wing Ngo – University of Macau
Paper Presenter: Eliza W.Y. Lee – University of Hong Kong
Paper Presenter: Wing-sang Law – Independent Scholars of Asia