SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

Rising Authoritarianism? Evaluating political and economic development in Hong Kong

Various panelists

Date: 1 October 2018Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 1 October 2018Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Panel Discussion


Over the last decade, Hong Kong has emerged as a bell-weather for the hopes of democratic reform in China. Frustration at the lack of progress towards universal suffrage based on international standards came to a head in the 2014. The ‘Umbrella Movement’ involved hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens who took part in sustained protests for universal suffrage. The Chinese central government’s attempts to control candidature and slow the pace of reform were seen by many as a betrayal of the guarantees agreed under ‘One Country Two Systems’ and Hong Kong’s Basic Law that serves as a regional Constitution. Both were meant to guide Hong Kong’s transition from an undemocratic British colony to a Chinese Special Administrative Region heading towards universal suffrage.

This has not happened. Instead, there is evidence that the central government has become increasingly involved in Hong Kong affairs ranging from political processes to land policy to investment and the economy. The trials of ‘Umbrella Movement’ leaders have added to a growing sense of alarm and polarization.

This panel discussion brings together four distinguished Hong Kong citizens to discuss Hong Kong’s current political impasse, the city’s relationship with China and its future as a both a cosmopolitan economic Asian hub and exemplar for democratic reform in China – or not.


  • Panel Chair: Professor Steve Tsang (Director, SOAS China Institute)
  • Mr. Nathan Law (Former Legislative Council Member of Hong Kong and Founding Chairman of Demosisto in Hong Kong)
  • Mr. Martin Lee SC, JP (Former Legislative Council Member of Hong Kong and Founding Chairman of the Democratic Party in Hong Kong)
  • Professor Joseph Yi-zheng Lian (International College of Liberal Arts, Yamanashi Gakuin University)
  • Professor Benny Tai (Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong)
Speakers biographies

This event is free and open to the public. No registration is required. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

Contact email:

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4823