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Interview: Historian Jeffrey Wasserstrom says world must keep paying attention to Hong Kong despite pandemic distractions


When historian Jeffrey Wasserstrom was contemplating Hong Kong’s future as he wrote his book on last year’s protests, he never imagined that freedoms would come under attack so soon after Beijing’s national security law was passed.

“I’d say this was the picture that I feared,” he told HKFP, “but it’s happened faster than anybody expected, including me.”

Photo: Columbia Global Reports.

Wasserstrom’s account, presciently entitled Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink, was one of pragmatic pessimism. “There is little stopping Beijing from destroying many of Hong Kong’s institutions,” he wrote. Elsewhere, he described the city as “Beijing’s captive colony.”

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