What can the massive protests that have roiled Hong Kong and the harsh repressive moves made against activists tell us about where this special metropolis is heading? And about how a resurgent China under strongman rule is challenging and reshaping the international order? Jeffrey Wasserstrom draws on his many visits to the city and his background as a specialist in the history of protests against authoritarianism to make a powerful and sobering case for the near inevitability of China’s imposing its model on Hong Kong.
Vigil tells a tale of two interrelated processes. The first involves a stop and go, but never reversing, set of moves by China’s Communist Party to minimize the many things that once made Hong Kong unlike the cities neighboring it just across the border on the mainland. The result of this has been that, since the 1997 Handover from Great Britain to China, more and more of the once clear-cut contrasts between Hong Kong and nearby urban centers such as Canton and Shenzhen—differences that decades ago were as stark as those between East Berlin and West Berlin—are lessening or going away completely.
The second process involves bold efforts by residents of Hong Kong to push back against this erosion of differences. The key actors are people who are passionately committed to defending the special qualities of a city they love—a freer press, more judicial independence, a system of rule of law rather than rule by law—against moves to diminish them made by Beijing and its local proxies. The result has been one of the great David versus Goliath stories of our time, pitting creative and determined activists, joined on the streets in recent years by ever larger numbers of Hong Kong residents, against a Chinese Communist Party whose global clout keeps growing and whose current leader, Xi Jinping, has grand ambitions for bringing all parts of the People’s Republic of China under tighter forms of control.
The result is a tale of heroism but also tragedy. Even against-all-odds longshot victories—and there have been some—can only slow a process that has led, in essence, to Hong Kong’s people becoming subjects of first the great imperial power of the nineteenth century and now the most important rising imperial power of the current era.
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By:David Kaye Length: 3 hours 48 minutes Abridged: No
Who polices speech online? Who is in charge?
"There is an epidemic sweeping the world," the Nigerian Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said. "It is the epidemic of fake news. Mixed with hate speech, it is a disaster waiting to happen." Some argue that the disaster has already happened. But is the solution as simple as ridding social media of... Read more »
Trump in America, Brexit in the U.K., anti-EU parties in Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, and Hungary, and nativist or authoritarian leaders in Turkey, Russia, India, and China -- Why has nationalism suddenly returned with a vengeance? Is the world headed back to the fractious... Read more »
Bestselling author Bethany McLean reveals the true story of fracking's impact -- on Wall Street, the economy and geopolitics.
The technology of fracking in shale rock -- particularly in the Permian Basin in Texas -- has transformed America into the world's top producer of both oil and natural gas. The U.S. is expected to be "energy independent"... Read more »
By:Joel Simon Length: 5 hours 5 minutes Abridged: No
Starting in late 2012, Westerners working in Syria -- journalists and aid workers -- began disappearing without a trace. A year later the world learned they had been taken hostage by the Islamic State. Throughout 2014, all the Europeans came home, first the Spanish, then the French, then an Italian, a German, and a Dane. In August 2014, the... Read more »
From the man who coined the term "net neutrality," author of The Master Switch and The Attention Merchants, comes a warning about the dangers of excessive corporate and industrial concentration for our economic and political future.
We live in an age of extreme corporate concentration, in which global industries are controlled by just a few giant... Read more »
What can the massive protests that have roiled Hong Kong and the harsh repressive moves made against activists tell us about where this special metropolis is heading? And about how a resurgent China under strongman rule is challenging and reshaping the international order? Jeffrey Wasserstrom draws on his many visits to the city and his... Read more »
The buying and selling of citizenship has become a legitimate, thriving business in just a few years. Entrepreneurs are renouncing America and Europe in favor of tax havens in the Caribbean with the help of a cottage industry of lawyers, bankers, and consultants that specialize in expatriation. But as journalist Atossa Araxia Abrahamian... Read more »
A behind-the-scenes look at the powerful courts that decide when international trade is legal or not. Does their rise mark a huge boon for corporations to challenge the power of sovereign nation-states?
International trade deals have become vastly complex documents, seeking to govern everything from labor rights to environmental protections. This... Read more »
Journalist Krithika Varagur's Da'wa chronicles the House of Saud as it systematically transforms the Muslim world in its own image, in one of the major imperial projects in today's world, on par with China's economic diplomacy. Since 1979, Saudi Arabia has spent $1.8 billion per year, by one estimate, to propagate its puritanical brand of Islam,... Read more »
By:Will Doig Length: 2 hours 5 minutes Abridged: No
The story of the world's most audacious infrastructure project.
Less than a decade ago, China did not have a single high-speed train in service. Today, it owns a network of 14,000 miles of high-speed rail, far more than the rest of the world combined. Now, China is pushing its tracks into Southeast Asia, reviving a century-old colonial fantasy of... Read more »
A lively, inside look at how Bollywood, Turkish soap operas, and K-Pop are challenging America's cultural dominance around the world.
There is a vast cultural movement emerging from beyond the Western world. Truly global in its range and allure, it is the biggest challenge yet to Hollywood, McDonald's, and blue jeans. This is an audiobook about... Read more »
Ghosting the News tells the most troubling media story of our time: How democracy suffers when local news dies. Reporting on news-impoverished areas in the U.S. and around the world, America's premier media critic, Margaret Sullivan, charts the contours of the damage but also surveys some new efforts to keep local news alive -- from non-profit... Read more »
There is renewed interest in socialism in the US and the UK, particularly among young people. Who are these new socialists? Why now?
In The Socialist Awakening author John B. Judis, who brilliantly explained the rise of populism and nationalism in his two most recent books, The Populist Explosion and The Nationalist Revival, charts the path of... Read more »