The Perfect Storm - Hong Kong’s Political Crisis


In August 2019, the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies presented a seminar on Hong Kong’s political crisis.

Panellists drew from their disciplinary perspectives to discuss events, including the information war that unfolded in the streets and cyberspace (Louisa Lim), the extradition bill and post-1997 governance in Hong Kong – the unreformed colonial system meets the People’s Republic of China (John Burns), and Hong Kong’s diminishing role in China’s economic future (Christine Wong).

How do we understand what’s happening in Hong Kong and is this a turning point where – by showing up in the millions to protest, Hong Kong bought itself time against the encroachment of China’s political system, or was this merely a local revolt against a deeply unpopular leader and her policies?


Brief biographies

Professor John Burns

John Burns is the former Chair Professor of Politics and Public Administration and former Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences at Hong Kong University. His areas of expertise include comparative politics and public administration, specialising in China, including Hong Kong, and focusing on party-state relations, public sector reform, and the civil service. He is the author or editor of eight books including Government Capacity and the Hong Kong Civil Service (Oxford, 2010)

Louisa Lim

Louisa Lim is an award-winning journalist. She is the author of The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited, which was a finalist for the Orwell Prize and the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. Her journalism on Hong Kong can be read in the New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post. She is also a co-host of the Little Red Podcast which won the News and Current Affairs award at the 2018 Australian Podcast Awards.

Professor Christine Wong

Christine Wong is an economist studying the Chinese economy and its transition from central planning to decentralised market allocation. She has published widely on China’s public finance, intergovernmental fiscal relations and their implications for governance, economic development and welfare. She has taught at universities in the UK and US, and has held senior positions in the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.


Further reading

Professor John Burns, Louisa Lim and Professor Christine Wong

Professor John Burns, Louisa Lim and Professor Christine Wong