What sequence of events led Hong Kong to lose its long-held status as a liberal enclave of China? What drove its population to rise up against its government and confront Beijing? And why did China’s rulers decide to effectively put an end to the freedoms guaranteed under the One-Country-Two-Systems arrangement by imposing in June 2020 a draconian National Security Law designed to eliminate any political opposition that has already led to hundreds of arrests?
In Defying the Dragon: Hong Kong and the World’s Largest Dictatorship (Hurst, 2021), the prominent Hong Kong journalist and broadcaster Stephen Vines offers a blow-by-blow account of the 2019-2020 protest movement. The books details the emergence of an increasingly assertive and defiant Hong Kong political identity, the collapse of trust in the Beijing-anointed government, the PRC’s increasingly hands-on assertion of its sovereignty over the territory, and the deteriorating relationship between the West and an overly confident but inwardly insecure Chinese state.
Nicholas Bequelin is a human rights professional with a PhD in history and a scholarly bent. He has worked about 20 years for Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, most recently as Regional director for Asia. He’s currently a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer at Yale Law School.
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