Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow the World

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This event is sponsored by the Asia Initiative Lecture Series at The Institute of World Politics. About the lecture: Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow The World is a gripping history of China’s deteriorating relationship with Hong Kong, and its implications for the rest of the world. For 150 years as a British colony, Hong Kong was a beacon of prosperity where people, money, and technology flowed freely, and residents enjoyed many civil liberties. In preparation for handing the territory over to China in 1997, Deng Xiaoping promised that it would remain highly autonomous for fifty years. An international treaty established a Special Administrative Region (SAR) with a far freer political system than that of Communist China―one with its own currency and government administration, a common-law legal system, and freedoms of press, speech, and religion. But as the halfway mark of the SAR’s lifespan approaches in 2022, it is clear that China has not kept its word. Universal suffrage and free elections have not been instituted, harassment and brutality have become normalized, and activists are being jailed en masse. To make matters worse, a national security law that further crimps Hong Kong’s freedoms has recently been decreed in Beijing. This tragic backslide has dire worldwide implications―as China continues to expand its global influence, Hong Kong serves as a chilling preview of how dissenters could be treated in regions that fall under the emerging superpower’s control. About the speaker: Mark L. Clifford is the author of Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow the World: What China’s Crackdown Reveals About Its Plans to End Freedom Everywhere and the president of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Hong Kong and a BA from the University of California Berkeley. A Walter Bagehot Fellow at Columbia University, he lived in Asia from 1987 until 2021. Previously, Clifford was executive director of the Hong Kong-based Asia Business Council, the editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), and publisher and editor-in-chief of The Standard (Hong Kong). He held senior editorial positions at BusinessWeek and the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong and Seoul. He has won numerous academic, book, and journalism awards. Follow him @MarkLClifford or see more information at www.markclifford.org.

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