The Future of Democracy in Hong Kong

Key information

3:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Virtual Event

About this event

Michael C. Davis (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; New York University and Jindal Global University) and Nathan Law (Hong Kong democratic activist and former legislator)



Hong Kong has been engulfed in momentous changes since 2019. Following the enactment by the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress of the National Security Law in June 2020, the governments in Hong Kong and China have made it clear that further changes are to be introduced. This includes a loyalty test for elected representatives in Hong Kong before they will be allowed to take office. Is there still a democratic future for Hong Kong? This panel discussion by a leading democratic activist and former legislator Nathan Law and a distinguished professor of law and the author of a new book Making Hong Kong China Michael Davis will trace how Hong Kong got to where it is today, what the key challenges are, and what roles supporters of democracy in Hong Kong or elsewhere can play in the foreseeable future.

Event Recording

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The Future of Democracy in Hong Kong

About the speakers

Michael C. Davis is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC, an affiliate research scholar at the US Asia Law Institute at New York University, and a Professor of Law and International Affairs at O.P. Jindal Global University in India. Long a public intellectual in Hong Kong, he was a professor in the Law Faculty at the University of Hong Kong until late 2016. His scholarship engages a range of issues relating to human rights, the rule of law, and constitutionalism in emerging states, with frequent publication in such public affairs journals as Foreign Affairs and the Journal of Democracy , as well as academic journals. Amnesty International, the Hong Kong Journalists Association, and the Hong Kong FCC awarded him a 2014 Human Rights Press Award for his commentary in the South China Morning Post on the 2014 Hong Kong "umbrella movement." His latest book on Making Hong Kong China: The Rollback of Human Rights and the Rule of Law (November 2020) is available from Columbia University Press.

Nathan Law is a young Hong Kong activist, currently in exile and based in London. During the Umbrella Movement in 2014, Nathan was one of the five representatives who took part in the dialogue with the government, debating political reform. Upholding non-violent civic actions, Nathan, Joshua Wong and other student leaders founded Demosistō in 2016 and ran for the Legislative Council election. Nathan was elected with 50,818 votes in the Hong Kong Island constituency and became the youngest Legislative Councilor in history. Yet his seat was overturned in July 2017 following Beijing’s constitutional reinterpretation, despite international criticism. Nathan was later jailed for his participation in the Umbrella Movement. The persecution sparked global concern over Beijing’s crackdown on human rights and democratic movement in Hong Kong. In 2018, Nathan and his fellow student activists Joshua Wong and Alex Chow are nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by US congressmen and British parliament members. Due to the risk imposed by the draconian National Security Law, Nathan left Hong Kong and continues to speak up for Hong Kong people on the international level. In 2020, he was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME.


This webinar will take place online via Zoom. Click here to register .

* The webinar will also be live-streamed on our Facebook page for those who are unable to participate via Zoom. This webinar will also be recorded.

Chair: Professor Steve Tsang (Director, SOAS China Institute)

Photo credit: Etan Liam ( Flickr )

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

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