China and Inner Asia
In the summer of 2019, Hong Kong-- former British colony, current special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China-- was swept up by a large, sustained protest movement. The spark that lit this “revolution of our time,” as protesters have deemed it, was an extradition treaty with China that would have allowed for the extradition of suspected criminals across the border. But over time, as peaceful marches have been joined by protracted battles on the street and online, the movement has evolved into something much deeper and more profound. It has, in a word, transformed into a critical watershed moment for the past, present, and future of Hong Kong, of China, and of the globe.
This interdisciplinary panel will draw upon the critical perspectives of history, sociology, and anthropology, as well as the lived experience of student activists and journalists to discuss the broader significance of the Hong Kong protests. We take as our starting point that these protests are deeply consequential both in Hong Kong and beyond it, and seek to uncover its wide-ranging implications through a series of questions. What do these protests tell us about the present status of One Country, Two Systems, and the future of the system’s impending expiration date in 2047? How have these protests shaped Hong Kong’s collective identity and capacity? How might these protests encourage historians to reconsider trajectories long taken for granted about the significance of Hong Kong to China? And finally, what does the surprising resilience of these protests tell us about the future of the PRC’s authoritarianism both at home and abroad? Each participant will speak for about 10 minutes, reserving ample time for discussion and interaction with the audience.