Foreign Policy Digital

Will Hong Kong Flare Up or Flame Out?

How the protesters got here—and what will happen next.

For the last several months, protesters in Hong Kong have staged increasingly frequent demonstrations over a controversial bill that would have allowed virtually anyone in Hong Kong facing criminal charges to be extradited to mainland China. Although the Hong Kong government has since suspended the measure, the protests have taken on a broader set of complaints—including the very nature of the region’s relationship to Beijing.

As the unrest continues, we’ve collected our top reads on how Hong Kong got here and where it is heading.

Before the bill was introduced this spring, it was already clear that China and Hong Kong were on a collision course. “Chinese President Xi Jinping has concentrated power and suppressed opposition in mainland China like no leader since Mao Zedong,”. “[S]o too has he looked to stamp out dissent in politically defiant Hong Kong.” In turn, “[w]ithin the last three years, the Hong Kong government, which is appointed by Beijing, has taken many unprecedentedly repressive steps,” Bland explains. “It has disqualified elected lawmakers, banned young activists from running for office, prohibited a political party, jailed pro-democracy protest leaders … expelled a senior foreign journalist, and looked the other way when Beijing kidnapped its adversaries in Hong Kong.” Publishers have also faced harassment and imprisonment, PEN America’s James Tager .

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