Does US Support Help or Hurt Hong Kong Democracy?

President Trump threatens to revoke Hong Kong’s special trade status and increases pressure on Beijing. What is at stake for the people of Hong Kong and two of the world’s largest powers if Hong Kong loses its autonomy? In January, right before the global outbreak of the coronavirus, IGA traveled to Hong Kong to find out.

After months of protesting China’s encroachment on the freedoms it once promised the people of Hong Kong, pro-democracy activists now face their largest battle against mainland China since the 1990s. China just gave itself the legal power to crush dissent.

We spoke with two young activists inside Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Wilfred Chan and Joshua Wong offer different – and fascinating – perspectives on Hong Kong’s political struggle, especially when it comes to America’s role in supporting the pro-democracy movement. What should Hong Kong seek, if anything, from Western countries? And, does American support strengthen or undermine the legitimacy of Hong Kong’s movement?

It’s time to “rethink, at the global level, what conditions caused a Hong Kong to emerge in the first place, and why people are now stuck in this situation and can’t get out.”

This video includes references to the Eurasia Group Foundation, now known as the Institute for Global Affairs.

This post is part of Independent America, a research project led out by IGA senior fellow Mark Hannah, which seeks to explore how US foreign policy could better be tailored to new global realities and to the preferences of American voters.

A brighter future for all