A long-term resident and expert observer of dissent in Hong Kong takes readers to the frontlines of Hong Kong’s revolution.
Through the long, hot summer of 2019, Hong Kong burned. Anti-government protests, sparked by a government proposal to introduce a controversial extradition law, grew into a pro-democracy movement that engulfed the city for months. Protesters fought street battles with police, and the unrest brought the People’s Liberation Army to the doorstep of Hong Kong. Driven primarily by youth protesters with their ‘Be water!’ philosophy, borrowed from hometown hero Bruce Lee, this leaderless, technology-driven protest movement defied a global superpower and changed Hong Kong, perhaps forever.
In City on Fire, Antony Dapiran provides the first detailed analysis of the protests, and reveals the protesters’ unique tactics. He explains how the movement fits into the city’s long history of dissent, examines the cultural aspects of the movement, and looks at what the protests will mean for the future of Hong Kong, China, and China’s place in the world.
City on Fire will be seen as the definitive account of an historic upheaval.
‘The events that have rocked Hong Kong over 2019 have bewildered and surprised people inside and outside the city. This is a timely, well-informed attempt to make sense of everything that has happened - critically important in view of the confusion, and contention, that this event has caused.’
Professor Kerry Brown, Director, Lau China Institute, King’s College London
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‘Illuminates every phase, trigger and turning point, skirmish and tactic in what became ‘a fight for the very soul of the city’.’
Bron Sibree, South China Morning Post
‘His scrupulous account looks at the history, the legal dimensions and the likely future for the region under Beijing.’ FIVE STARS
Robyn Douglass, The Advertiser
‘Excellent reportage that is of critical importance in understanding contemporary Chinese politics.’ STARRED REVIEW
‘[A]n engaged and authoritative account of the movement.’
Linda Jaivin, Sydney Review of Books
‘It gives a sense of immediacy and lived experience which is powerful and compelling; there is a rawness to passages of the book, and a sense of the unresolved trauma that last summer marked.’
Asian Review of Books
‘Dapiran shows how the protests brought worldwide attention to Hong Kong and civil liberties in an autonomous region. Readers will appreciate how the author places the events of 2019 in the context of earlier episodes in Hong Kong’s history such as the 2014 Umbrella Movement and the 1967 riots. This fascinating read is essential for anyone interested in the current affairs of Hong Kong, specifically, and China, generally.’ STARRED REVIEW
‘City on Fire is Dapiran's follow-up to his earlier book about the Umbrella Movement in 2014. The much-longer sequel is deeply personal, based on riveting first-hand accounts and historical insights on the turmoil that erupted last summer. It is helpful that Dapiran, who is impressively versed in the nuances of Hong Kong's local dialect and culture, was present at both watershed moments.’
‘[M]agnificent … [A] gifted writer who tells a compelling story of what the protesters have been up against, what they are fighting for, and how their tactics and goals have evolved over time … In addition to his strong descriptive powers, the author shows a keen understanding of human psychology and sociology, which adds another layer of depth to the reader’s understanding of the urgency of the demonstrations.’
‘City on Fire provides a clear and authoritative account of the unfolding events, well-seated in Hong Kongese history, culture, and politics.’
David Ferrell, The Canberra Times