Momentous changes in Hong Kong: Implications for Taiwan

Key information

5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
Virtual Event

About this event

Dennis W.H. Kwok (Harvard Kennedy School), Chun-Yi Lee (University of Nottingham) & Shelley Rigger (Davidson College)



Hong Kong is quietly undergoing a momentous transformation since the introduction of the State Security Law in the middle of 2020. The changes are not dramatic like the protests of 2019 but their significance should not be underestimated. The way how long established institutions, from the Legislative Council to the judicial system, function, to how young people articulate their dissent, have all been altered is highly significant. To some, Hong Kong is transiting from the old ‘one country, two systems’ framework to a new paradigm under the same name but operates entirely different. So much so that well over a hundred thousand Hong Kong people have already left their homeland for good, notwithstanding restrictions on travel brought about by the Covid Pandemic. Given that the Chinese Government remains steadfast that the ‘one country, two systems’ framework in Hong Kong should be applied over Taiwan, the transformation of Hong Kong has enormous implications for Taiwan. This panel discussion will address both the changes in Hong Kong and their implications for Taiwan and its people. It will also look at how Hong Kong is changing the political dynamics in Taiwan.


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Momentous changes in Hong Kong: Implications for Taiwan

About the speakers

Dennis W.H. Kwok

In 2012, Kwok was elected as the member of the Legislative Council (LegCo) representing the Hong Kong legal profession. The legislature in Hong Kong is divided into geographical seats and functional seats. Each member of the legal profession has one vote and is entitled to elect their representative in LegCo. Kwok succeeded veteran lawmaker Dr. Margaret Ng who held the LegCo legal seat for 16 years. Previous occupant of the legal seat includes Mr. Martin Lee, S.C., father of the democratic movement in Hong Kong. In 2016, Kwok was re-elected for a second four-year term with a 69% majority of votes from the legal profession.

In LegCo, the main policy areas that Kwok has focused on include access to justice, human rights protection and the independence of the judiciary in Hong Kong. Kwok oversaw the development of legal policy issues including the independence of prosecution decisions, the development of the legal profession and legal education.

As one of the leaders of Hong Kong’s democratic movement, Kwok accepted numerous international speaking engagements to discuss geopolitical issues related to the region. These engagements include the Asia Society, New York City Bar and the Council on Foreign Relations (New York), the United Nations Business and Human Rights Forum (Geneva), an European Parliament Subcommittee (Brussels), German Marshal Fund, Georgetown University and the Heritage Foundation (Washington DC), Venstre (Norway), the Stockholm Free World Forum (Sweden), Tokyo University (Japan) and the Lowy Institute (Australia).

Kwok is currently a Senior Fellow at the Ash Centre, Harvard Kennedy School. He is also a Distinguished Scholar at Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service. His main research areas include analyzing the political and legal risks for international businesses and NGOs that operate in the Greater China region. He is appointed to the advisory council of the Asian Studies Centre at the Heritage Foundation.

In his private legal practice, Kwok specializes in cross-border commercial disputes and international arbitration. He obtained his LLB from King’s College London. He qualified as a solicitor in England & Wales (2003) and as a barrister in Hong Kong (2006).

Chun-Yi Lee

Dr. Chun-Yi Lee is Associate Professor at school of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham. She is also the director of Taiwan Studies Program at Nottingham, a board member of European Association of Taiwan Studies. Chun-Yi's first book was published by Routledge in 2011: Taiwanese Business or Chinese Security Asse t. The book is under Leiden Series in Modern East Asia History and Politics. Currently, Chun-yi is working on a public policy research project, to compare Taiwan and UK government's strategies to counter Covid-19. Meanwhile Chun-yi is working her second single authored monograph on the topic of ' China's New Normal: The Impact of China's Rise on the Global Political Economy '.

Shelley Rigger

Shelley Rigger is the Brown Professor of East Asian Politics at Davidson College. She has a PhD in Government from Harvard University and a BA in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University. She has been a Fulbright scholar at National Taiwan University (2019), a visiting researcher at National Chengchi University in Taiwan (2005) and a visiting professor at Fudan University (2006) and Shanghai Jiaotong University (2013 & 2015). She is a non-resident fellow of the China Policy Institute at Nottingham University and a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI). She is also a director of The Taiwan Fund, a closed-end investment fund specializing in Taiwan-listed companies. Rigger is the author of two books on Taiwan’s domestic politics, Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Democracy (Routledge 1999) and From Opposition to Power: Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (Lynne Rienner Publishers 2001). She has published two books for general readers, Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse (2011) and The Tiger Leading the Dragon: How Taiwan Propelled China’s Economic Rise (2021). She has published articles on Taiwan’s domestic politics, the national identity issue in Taiwan-China relations and related topics. In 2019-20 she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar based in Taipei, where she worked on a study of Taiwan’s contributions to the PRC’s economic take-off and a study of Taiwanese youth.


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

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

Organiser: SOAS China Institute and SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

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