CCS Teach-In: The Hong Kong Protest Movement in Perspective

Featuring Jeffery Wasserstrom (UCI), Bellette Lee (UCLA) and Chit Wai John Mok (UCI)

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Since June 2019, widespread protests have swept Hong Kong after a controversial Extradition Bill was introduced. In the ensuring months the protests have been met with intense police actions and have escalated, setting off a complex series of political, economic, and cultural reverberations. This “Teach-In” is an attempt to go behind the headlines and examine the deeper historical context of a struggle that has now lasted longer than the Tiananmen upheaval of 1989 and the Umbrella Movement of 2014. The goal is to explore what is at stake in the crisis, how the actions of both protesters and their opponents have evolved, and why the situation has places both sides in such a difficult political bind. Is there an end game? How has the US Congress gotten involved and what are the implications of a Human Rights and Democracy Act? How has the Hong Kong crisis affected the US-China Trade War and even the NBA? What is the ripple effect of the struggle across the East Asian region and across the globe? Which historical events provide the best analogies for the crisis? These are among the questions to be addressed.

Jeffrey Wasserstrom
is Chancellor’s Professor of History, University of California Irvine. His most recent books are Eight Juxtapositions: China through Imperfect Analogies from Mark Twain to Manchukuo (Penguin 2016), the co-authored third edition of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford 2018), and the forthcoming Vigil:Hong Kong on the Brink (to be published in February by Columbia Global Reports). In addition to writing for scholarly periodicals, he is a regular contributor to newspapers (including the New York Times and Los Angeles Times) and magazines (such as the Atlantic and Dissent).

Bellette Lee is Lecturer of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, teaching Chinese politics under reform and international relations of East Asia. She received a B.A. from the University of Hong Kong, M.A. from the University of Birmingham (England), and PhD from the University of Chicago. Lee has published in the Journal of Contemporary Asia, Asia Network Exchange, and Chinese Law and Government. She is currently conducting research on the governing tactics of the Chinese state through development projects. Before going to graduate school, she was a politics reporter for South China Morning Post in the British colony of Hong Kong.

Chit Wai John Mok is a Phd student in sociology at the University of California, Irvine. His research interests include contentious politics, social movements, religion, and politics in Hong Kong and China. He writes commentaries on Hong Kong in both Chinese and English media outlets, including The Washington Post, Nikkei Asian Review, and The Progressive.

Sponsor: Center for Chinese Studies

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Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2019