The 2019 Hong Kong Protests in Historical and Political Context

Tue 13 Aug 2019 6:00pm7:30pm


Holding Redlich Lawyers, Level 1, 300 Queen St, Brisbane City, Queensland 4000

Presented by Dr Sarah Teitt (UQ)


Since early June, hundreds of thousands of people have engaged in mass public protests in Hong Kong. Although originally targeted at quashing a controversial Bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China, the protests now centre on wider concerns over Beijing chipping away at Hong Kong’s autonomy under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle. Tensions have only deepened as the protests have evolved. Amidst allegations of encroaching state control and excessive use of force by police, protesters contend that they are struggling for the future of democratic rights and freedoms in Hong Kong. Beijing, on the other hand, has voiced alarm over the deteriorating security situation and violent tactics adopted by some protesters, including breaking in and vandalising the Legislative Council building on 1 July. This talk examines this rift, focusing on the historical narratives, principles and political context that shape the Hong Kong protesters' struggles and the Chinese Government’s responses.

Dr Sarah Teitt is an Australian Research Council DECRA Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, in the School of Political Science and International Studies, The University of Queensland. Sarah’s research focuses on Chinese foreign policy in relation to peacekeeping, peacebuilding and emergency humanitarian response, and on the prevention of widespread and systematic sexual and gender based violence in Southeast Asia. Sarah facilitates the China-Australia Dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect, an annual dialogue she established in 2014 for Chinese and Australian foreign affairs officials and experts to exchange perspectives on and propose initiatives for preventing and responding to genocide and mass atrocities. In 2016, she was a visiting research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, the think tank of China’s foreign ministry, researching Chinese perspectives on the Syrian crisis. Her research has featured in leading international and Chinese journals, and she is currently undertaking a three-year research fellowship which aims to enhance understanding and evaluate the impact of China's expanding role in international peacebuilding, focusing on Myanmar, Afghanistan and South Sudan.