August 26: Narratives from Social Movements and Identity Politics in Hong Kong and Taiwan

August 26: Narratives from Social Movements and Identity Politics in Hong Kong and Taiwan

Wednesday, August 26 from 9:00 AM-10:30 AM (EST)
Webcast Only

Event Description

In recent months, the Chinese government has taken a number of measures to rein in Hong Kong’s autonomy. The Hong Kong government recently postponed the September 6 election of the city’s legislature by a year. China’s legislature also adopted a controversial national security law for Hong Kong that critics argue will undermine the semi-autonomous territory’s freedoms, sparking new protests in Hong Kong. Taiwan has lent moral support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists, while its democratization and social movements – in particular the Sunflower Movement of 2014 – have been sources of inspiration for Hong Kong’s civil society to resist “mainlandization.” In both places, the younger generation have come to the forefront of these movements. How have the social movements in Taiwan and Hong Kong reinforced each side’s political discourse, objectives, and local identities? How does the Taiwan-Hong Kong connection challenge Beijing’s policies towards both entities? What measures can the United States take to support the democratic rights and freedoms in Hong Kong?  This virtual seminar will examine the interconnectedness of Hong Kong and Taiwan’s social movements by bringing together a panel of experts from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States.

Taiwan Legislator Freddy Lim will provide the opening keynote. Panelists will include: Ming-sho Ho, professor of sociology at National Taiwan University; Christina Lai, junior research fellow in the Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica, Taiwan; Luwei Rose Luqiu, assistant professor of communication at Hong Kong Baptist University; and Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. The panel will be moderated by I-wei Jennifer Chang, research fellow at the Global Taiwan Institute. 

The event webcast will be broadcasted live on our website and YouTube on Wednesday, August 26 at 9 AM (EST). Questions for the panel may either be sent by e-mail to contact@globaltaiwan.org or through the chat function on the YouTube page. 

Opening Keynote:

Legislator Freddy Lim, Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan

Freddy Lim is an independent member of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan. He founded the New Power Party in 2015, entered the Legislative Yuan in 2016, and served on the Foreign and National Defense Committee in the Legislative Yuan. He also served as Chairman of Amnesty International in Taiwan from 2010 to 2014 and has been an advocate of human rights, Hong Kong, Tibet, and environmental and social causes. He is a graduate of National Taipei University. He is also lead vocalist of the Taiwanese heavy-metal band Chthonic.


Ming-sho Ho is professor of the Department of Sociology, National Taiwan University. He studies social movements, labor sociology, and environmental issues. He is the author of Working Class Formation in Taiwan: Fractured Solidarity in State-Owned Enterprises (2014) and Challenging Beijing’s Mandate of Heaven: Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement (2019).

Christina Lai is a junior research fellow in the Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica, Taiwan. She was previously a lecturer in Global Security Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She is interested in U.S.-China Relations, Chinese Foreign Policy, East Asian politics, and Qualitative Research Methods. Her works have appeared in the Journal of Contemporary China, Pacific Review, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, Asian Survey, and Asian Security. Her research projects were supported by the Lynde and Bradley Foundation, Global Taiwan Institute, Georgetown University, and American Political Science Association. 

Luwei Rose Luqiu is an assistant professor at the School of Communication at Hong Kong Baptist University. She researches censorship, propaganda, and social movements in authoritarian regimes. She has been a journalist for 20 years and was a 2007 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. She received her PhD in mass communication from Pennsylvania State University and earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Fudan University.

Sophie Richardson is the China director at Human Rights Watch. A graduate of the University of Virginia, the Hopkins-Nanjing Program, and Oberlin College, Dr. Richardson is the author of numerous articles on domestic Chinese political reform, democratization, and human rights in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Vietnam. She has testified before the European Parliament and the US Senate and House of Representatives. She has provided commentary to the BBC, CNN, the Far Eastern Economic Review, Foreign Policy, National Public Radio, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Dr. Richardson is the author of China, Cambodia, and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (Columbia University Press, Dec. 2009), an in-depth examination of China’s foreign policy since 1954’s Geneva Conference, including rare interviews with policy makers.


I-wei Jennifer Chang is a research fellow at the Global Taiwan Institute. Prior to GTI, Ms. Chang was senior program specialist in the China Program at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), where she examined China’s role in global conflict zones spanning from the Indo-Pacific region to the Middle East and Africa. Ms. Chang joined USIP after working as a researcher at the Embassy of India in Washington, D.C., and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. She also covered Taiwanese politics and society as a reporter for The China Post in Taipei. Ms. Chang has also published widely on Chinese foreign and security policy, Asia-Middle East relations, civil wars, ethnic conflict, and religious freedom. She has written for several publications including 9DashLine, Foreign Policy, The Jamestown Foundation’s China BriefJadaliyyaMiddle East Research and Information ProjectISLAMiCommentary, and the Middle East Institute’s Middle East-Asia Project. Ms. Chang holds two Master’s degrees in International Relations and Journalism from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. 

Event Summary:

On August 26, 2020, the Global Taiwan Institute hosted a webinar entitled “Narratives from Social Movements and Identity Politics in Hong Kong and Taiwan.”

Legislator Freddy Lim, an independent member of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, gave the opening keynote address. The panelists included Ming-sho Ho, a professor at the Department of Sociology at National Taiwan University; Christina Lai, a junior research fellow at the Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica; Luwei Rose Luqiu, an assistant professor at the School of Communication at Hong Kong Baptist University; and Sophie Richardson, the China director at Human Rights Watch. Moderating was I-wei Jennifer Chang, a research fellow at GTI.

In his opening keynote, Freddy Lim—who currently serves as the chair of Taiwan’s Parliamentary Group for Hong Kong—observed that Hong Kong’s policies began to tilt towards the industrial and commercial sectors following the handover in 1997. According to Lim, collusion between businesses and the government led many civil society groups to lobby for a bottom-up political structure as opposed to the Beijing-led, top-down approach. Lim further noted that Beijing’s intervention in Hong Kong has changed since Xi Jinping became president in 2012. Following Xi’s rise, China has tightened control over Hong Kong, leading to the widely condemned National Security Law. Lim compared Hong Kong’s current situation to the White Terror, the 40-year long period of oppression during the martial law in Taiwan. He maintained that Hong Kong can obtain its democratic aspirations through persistence. Until then, Taiwan must be a beacon of hope for the Hong Kong people, engage with the international community, and unite world’s democracies to support the people of Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet.

Ming-sho Ho gave a presentation on the complex relationship between the civil society and activists in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Pressure from Beijing has made Taiwan an overseas base for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists. Ho elaborates on this relationship between Taiwan and Hong Kong in his 2019 publication, Challenging Beijing’s Mandate of Heaven. Building on this, Christina Lai noted that Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement helped to solidify Taiwan as a democratic role model for Hong Kong activists and that many Taiwanese and Hong Kong activists have participated in each other’s movements and shared strategies for their movements, thus building a sense of community. By strengthening their relationship, Hong Kong and Taiwan are signaling their commitment to democratic values and helping to uphold democratic alliances in Asia.

Subsequently, Luwei Rose Luqiu drew from her experience as a former journalist in her discussion of life under the new Hong Kong National Security Law during the two months since it has been implemented. The National Security Law has brought about significant uncertainty for the citizens of Hong Kong. The city previously enjoyed freedom of speech and was a haven for critics of the CCP. Luqiu noted that the vagueness of the law means that journalists and academics are uncertain about what topics are now off-limits. This law has led many journalists and news agencies to leave Hong Kong altogether, including the New York Times, which moved part of its offices to South Korea. Journalists and universities will inevitably self-censor to avoid penalties under the new National Security Law, but, on the other hand, Hong Kong’s activist movements and the open flow of information will inspire others around the world to help maintain openness in Hong Kong, Luqiu concluded.

Sophie Richardson discussed Beijing’s attempts to interfere with Hong Kong’s Basic Law and voiced her concerns about the threats to and the politicization of Hong Kong’s independent judicial system. Richardson noted that even before the National Security Law was enacted, some of Hong Kong’s long-standing civil society groups and political parties had dissolved out of fear that their members would be subject to prosecution. To further preserve freedoms of Hong Kong, Richardson argued that foreign governments should protect safe spaces for civil society and independent media.

This summary was written by GTI Fall 2020 Intern Ian Murphy.

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