Demonstrations that started peacefully in Hong Kong more than six months ago have grown increasingly confrontational. On December 10, 2019, Professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom of the University of California, Irvine, called in from Hong Kong to deliver his thoughts and observations from the ground during a National Committee teleconference. A long time analyst of protest in pre-1949 China and different parts of the PRC in recent decades, he traveled to Hong Kong in early December, after having last been there in early June when protests began, and shared his perspective on recent events and what he heard and learned from people who have been living through them.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, where he also holds courtesy appointments in Law and in Literary Journalism. He has just completed Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink, a short book that will be published in February 2020 by Columbia Global Reports. His past books include China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (co-authored by Maura Elizabeth Cunningham), the third edition of which came out from Oxford University Press in 2018, and Student Protests in Twentieth-Century China: The View from Shanghai (Stanford, 1991). A former member of the Board of Directors of the National Committee, he writes regularly for newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals.