ChinaFile Presents: Hong Kong on the Brink?


Book Launch

Hong Kongers Protest Over China Extradition Law

Mourners hold candles during a candlelight vigil to commemorate a protestor who died last night during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal on June 17, 2019 in Hong Kong China. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

As massive public protests continue to roil politics and society in Hong Kong, ChinaFile will host a discussion with historian Jeffrey Wasserstrom on the launch of his new book, Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink. Wasserstrom, a scholar of social movements and in particular student protests in 20th century China, probes the origins and significance of the protests with special attention to their historical resonances, and what they reveal about the nature of China’s current leadership. He will be joined by Jiayang Fan, who has recently reported on politics in Hong Kong for The New Yorker. Their conversation will be moderated by ChinaFile Editor Susan Jakes.

The event will be followed by a book signing. Copies of Wasserstrom's forthcoming book will be available for sale at the event.


Jiayang Fan is a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, where she writes about China and Chinese-American politics and culture. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Book ReviewThe New York Times Magazine, and the Paris Review, among other places. Fan was born in Chongqing, moving to the United States at the age of eight. She graduated from Williams College with a double major in philosophy and English literature. She received a Fulbright scholarship to spend a year in Korea.

Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, where he holds courtesy appointments in Law and Literary Journalism. A past editor of the Journal of Asian Studies (2008-2018) and an Associate Fellow of the Asia Society, he is the author of five previous books, including Eight Juxtapositions: China through Imperfect Analogies from Mark Twain to Manchukuo (Penguin, 2016) and China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (co-authored by Maura Elizabeth Cunningham, Oxford, 2018). He is an adviser to the Hong Kong International Literary Festival, a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and has contributed to leading newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and magazines such as The Nation, The Times Literary Supplement, and the online edition of The Atlantic.

Susan Jakes (Moderator) is Editor of ChinaFile and Senior Fellow at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations. From 2000-2007, she reported on China for Time magazine, first as a reporter and editor based in Hong Kong and then as the magazine’s Beijing Correspondent.

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Event Details

Thu 13 Feb 2020
6:30 - 8 p.m.

Asia Society

725 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10021


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$8 members; $10 students/seniors; $12 non-members
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