Crackdown: Hong Kong Faces Tiananmen 2.0

Issue Date October 2020
Volume 31
Issue 4
Page Numbers 122-37
file Print
arrow-down-thin Download from Project MUSE
external View Citation

Hong Kong, a place where liberty once bloomed, has now been crushed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). On 30 June 2020, the PRC imposed a draconian national-security law on the city, seeking to “prevent, stop, and punish” a string of vaguely defined crimes of “secession,” “subversion,” “terrorism,” and “collusion with foreign forces.” The crackdown is the latest response by the Chinese Communist party-state to the campaign in defense of freedom and democracy that Hong Kong’s citizens have been waging for decades. The “one country, two systems” constitutional structure that Hong Kong was given at the time of the 1997 handover from Britain was troubled from birth. The radicalization of the 2019 protests against the PRC’s extradition law gave Beijing the perfect excuse to impose its own preferred answer—which might be called “Tiananmen-lite”—to the long-running problem that Hong Kong posed as a thorn of liberty embedded in the side of the PRC’s one-party dictatorship.

About the Author

Victoria Tin-bor Hui is associate professor of political science and a fellow of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She blogs on Hong Kong at

View all work by Victoria Tin-bor Hui