The protests that swept through the streets of Hong Kong beginning in the summer of 2019 highlighted the tension that exists between the residents of the region and China’s political leadership. The politics of the region have also made their way into American popular culture through public disputes within the NBA, controversy over Blizzard’s decision to ban a prominent Hong Kong gamer, and a South Park episode critical of Chinese censorship that led to the series being completely banned in the country.
In this episode, Bob and Ben speak with Mindy Smith to learn about the history of Hong Kong, its special status as a distinct region within China, and the forces that pushed the people of Hong Kong into the streets. We also talk about how Hong Kong’s distinct history has led to a clash in historical narratives, and what US policy toward the region can tell us about US foreign policy under recent presidents.
Dr. Aminda Smith is an Associate Professor of History at Michigan State University who specializes in modern Chinese history with a particular interest in the social and cultural history of Chinese Communism. Her first book, Thought Reform and China’s Dangerous Classes: Reeducation, Resistance, and the People was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2012. She also serves as co-director of the PRC History Group and editor for H-PRC. You can follow her on twitter at @AmindaASmith.