In the latest episode of the Lowy Institute’s new half-hour podcast, Rules Based Audio, I’m talking to Lowy Institute Research Fellow Ben Bland and Hong Kong-based Financial Times journalist Primrose Riordan about the roots of the ongoing political unrest in the city, and where it might end.
The semi-autonomous Chinese territory is being squeezed by an increasingly authoritarian Beijing and its appointed leadership in Hong Kong, putting pressure on its autonomy and rule of law. Following a furious public reaction to a proposed extradition bill which would have exposed Hong Kongers to the mainland justice system, the city has been convulsed for over two months by mass protests, including violent clashes between police and demonstrators.
Protesters are demanding charges against protesters are dropped, an investigation into police brutality, and democratic voting rights. After the peaceful Umbrella movement of 2014 ended without concession from the government, its leaders barred from political office and jailed, where does the cycle of repression and resistance end, and will Beijing step in?
Ben Bland is the Director of the Southeast Asia program at the Lowy Institute, and the author of the 2017 book Generation HK: Seeking Identity in China’s Shadow. Before joining the Lowy Institute, Ben was an award-winning foreign correspondent for the Financial Times, with postings in Hanoi, Hong Kong and Jakarta over the previous decade.
Primrose Riordan is a Financial Times journalist based in Hong Kong where she has been covering the protests. She previously reported on foreign Affairs for The Australian and the Australian Financial Review in Canberra.