Lowy Institute Research Fellow Ben Bland led a discussion on the future of Hong Kong with three people who have been at the heart of recent events: pro-democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok, human rights activist Bonnie Leung and Financial Times correspondent Sue-Lin Wong.
China’s decision to unilaterally implement national security legislation in Hong Kong has dealt a heavy blow to the city’s freedoms and autonomy. This latest move comes after years of intensifying pressure from Beijing, which has struck at the foundations of Hong Kong’s success as a global financial centre: individual liberties and the rule of law. With thousands of democracy activists already arrested in the last year and Beijing’s interventions becoming ever more intrusive, is this the end of Hong Kong as we know it?
Dennis Kwok is a practicing barrister and a pro-democracy member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, representing the legal profession. First elected to LegCo in 2012, Dennis is a member of the executive committee of the Civic Party. Dennis graduated and received his LLB from King’s College London in 1999 and was called to the Hong Kong Bar in 2006.
Bonnie Leung is a democracy activist and a member of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organised the massive peaceful protests against Hong Kong’s controversial extradition bill last year. A former district councillor, she also served as an international spokesperson for the anti-extradition bill movement.
Sue-Lin Wong is the Financial Times' South China correspondent, covering the pro-democracy protests on the ground in Hong Kong. In 2019, she opened the FT's bureau in Shenzhen, where Chinese tech giants Huawei and Tencent are headquartered. She will be joining The Economist as a China correspondent in July. Sue-Lin graduated from the Australian National University.
Ben Bland is a Research Fellow at the Lowy Institute who focuses on Hong Kong, as well as directing the Institute's Southeast Asia Program. He is the author of Generation HK: Seeking Identity in China’s Shadow and was formerly the South China Correspondent for the Financial Times, based in Hong Kong.