Hong Kong in 2019 was a city on fire. Anti-government protests, sparked by an ill-fated extradition bill sparked seven months of protest and civil unrest. Protestors clashed with police in the streets, in shopping malls, in residential buildings. Driven by Hong Kong’s young people with their ‘Be Water!’ strategy, the pro-democracy movement grew into a massive force, receiving support from all demographics – from the ‘silver-hairs’, to mothers, from healthcare workers, to journalists and bankers, the ongoing protests polarized the community and changed the urban city space, likely forever.
In City on Fire: The Fight for Hong Kong
(Scribe, 2020), Antony Dapiran
builds on his previous work City of Protest
. He explores the 2019 protest movement, how it has changed the city and what Hong Kong means for the world. Dapiran gets you as close to the action as you can be, without having to experience the direct effects of being tear-gassed. This is a must read for anyone interested Hong Kong, China, democracy and human rights. It is a lesson in policing, in protest, and the power of political mobilization. It is a page turner that is essential to understanding Hong Kong’s ‘revolution of our times.’
Jane Richards is a doctoral candidate in Human Rights Law at the University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include disability, equality and criminal law. You can find her on twitter @JaneRichardsHK where she avidly follows the Hong Kong protests.