Michael Davis, "Freedom Undone: The Assault on Liberal Values in Hong Kong" (Association for Asian Studies, 2023)


"What happened in Hong Kong is not an anomaly but a warning" - Hong Kong Human Rights defender Chow Hang Tung, speech written from prison upon receiving a human rights award.

In our interview today, I spoke with Professor Michael C. Davis, author of Freedom Undone: The Assault on Liberal Values and Institutions in Hong Kong (AAS and Columbia UP, 2024). In his latest book, he writes about how one of the world's most free-wheeling cities has transitioned from a vibrant global center of culture and finance into an illiberal regime. We spoke about the progressive shifts towards authoritarian governance in Hong Kong's post-colonial period, leading up to the introduction of the National Security Law of 2020, and the rapid erosion of human rights and liberal freedoms since. Professor Davis explained the significance of Hong Kong's new domestic National Security Law, introduced last week, and its implications for the erosion of global democratic institutions globally. 

Professor Michael C. Davis is a former long-time professor at the University of Hong Kong and prior to that at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he taught course on human rights and constitutional development. He is currently a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, a Senior Research Associate at the Weatherhead East Asia Institute at Columbia University, and a Professor of Law and International Affairs at O.P. Jindal Global University in India. He also enjoys research affiliations at New York University and the University of Notre Dame. 

You can listen to our earlier interview, about Professor Davis' book, Making Hong Kong China: The Rollback of Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Columbia UP, 2020) here.

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Jane Richards

Jane Richards is a Lecturer in Law at York Law School, UK.

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