Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China since it was handed over to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 after a century and a half of British colonial rule, has since early June witnessed almost daily protests including some spectacular ones featuring one and even two million people turning out by some estimates, out of its current population of 7.5 million.
A now withdrawn proposed extradition law ignited the protests which are continuing, having acquired more demands, and are turning increasingly violent in the face of attacks by a police force which had for a few decades enjoyed the reputation of being ‘Asia’s Finest’ as well by suspected undercover agents and triad gangsters .
How did the vibrant city, one of the world’s financial centres and air hubs and a shopping paradise in East Asia come to this?
The discussion will go into the historical backround to the protests, the nature of the extradition law that started it all, allegations of foreign forces fomenting unrest as well as comparisons with other ongoing protest movements around the world.
Jayaram is an independent journalist now based in Bangalore after having worked with the Press Trust of India news agency for 15 years, including as its Beijing correspondent (1988-94) and with Agence France-Presse news agency’s Asia-Pacific operations in Hong Kong for 11 years until 2006, when he took time off to study human rights law (LLMHR) at the University of Hong Kong. Since 2007 he has been editing and translating for NGOs and academic institutions, including the Hong Kong-based French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC).
Malavika Prasad is an advocate and doctoral fellow at NALSAR University of Law. Her goal is to understand and help bridge the gulf between the Constitution of India and the constitution of India. To move towards this aim, she designs and runs educational activities for children and young adults on engaging as proactive citizens in Indian democracy, and writes for media-houses such as The Caravan. Previously, she has worked on both sides of the Bar, clerking for a judge of the Delhi High Court, and as an advocate in the Supreme Court of India and other courts and tribunals. She holds degrees from Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad and the University of Michigan Law School as a Grotius Fellow.
Prof. Thomas Abraham
Thomas Abraham is a former editor in chief of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Prior to that he was with The Hindu for two decades, during which time he was its correspondent in Sri Lanka during the time of the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement, and later its correspondent in at the United Nations office in Geneva, where among other issues he reported on the negotiations to create the World Trade Organization. He also reported for The Hindu from London.
He later taught journalism at the University of Hong Kong, and also ran a research programme on health communication at the University. In 2009 he worked at the World Health Organisation in Geneva as head of news in the Director General’s office, and has frequently been a consultant for the WHO. He is the author of Polio; The Odyssey of Eradication (2018) which was long listed for the Wellcome Prize, and Twentieth Century Plague, the Story of Sars. He is now based in Bengaluru.
Manoj Kewalramani is a Fellow-China Studies at The Takshashila Institution. His research focuses on Chinese politics, foreign policy and approaches to new technologies.
Prior to joining Takshashila, Manoj spent 11 years working as a journalist in India and China, where he also helped set up digital newsrooms and train young journalists. Manoj’s work has been published by many media outlets, including NDTV, WION, Al-Jazeera, CGTN and The Diplomat.
He also curates a weekly brief, Eye on China, which tracks developments in China from an Indian perspective.