ChinaFile Presents: Hong Kong’s Relationship with Beijing — An Update


Breakfast available from 8 a.m.

Program begins at 8:30 a.m.

When Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, the territory’s government—and that of Beijing—took on a political experiment, committing to rule the former British colony according to a formula called “one country, two systems.” That formula has been ever more strenuously tested in recent years, and indeed, just in the past few months. The mainland government under Xi Jinping has intervened more often and more extensively in Hong Kong’s politics and legal system, leaving rule of law advocates concerned that the “high degree of autonomy” granted Hong Kong in both the handover agreement and in the Basic Law is quickly eroding—and with it, the civil liberties of Hong Kong people.

On May 9, ChinaFile will host a breakfast exploring the origins of these concerns and the current state of Hong Kong-mainland relations in the spheres of law and electoral politics. We will welcome back to the Asia Society veteran Hong Kong legislator and rule of law advocate Martin Lee and longtime journalist and media rights expert Mak Yin-ting. They will be joined by democracy activist Nathan Law. ChinaFile editor, Susan Jakes, will moderate. Coffee and a light breakfast will be served.

Please note that this program has been changed. We apologize that Margaret Ng will no longer be able to join us. 


Martin Lee is the founding chairman of the Democratic Party. He was elected as a member of the Legislative Council from 1985 to 2008. He served as chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association from 1980 to 1983 and took part in the discussions over Hong Kong’s 1997 handover from the United Kingdom to China, joining the Basic Law Drafting Committee in 1985. Currently, he is a practicing barrister.

Nathan Law was the youngest-ever member of Hong Kong’s legislative council when he was elected at age 23. He was later disqualified from serving after Hong Kong’s Supreme Court invalidated his oath of office. He served 69 days in prison for “inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly” because of his activism in the Umbrella Movement. He recently graduated with a Cultural Studies degree from Lingnan University in Hong Kong, and will be pursuing a masters in Asian Studies at Yale University in fall 2019.

Mak Yin-ting is Hong Kong correspondent for Radio France International and has been a journalist in Hong Kong for both print and electronic media for over 30 years. She is the former Chair of the Hong Kong Journalists Association and is co-author of the organization’s annual report on freedom of expression in Hong Kong. 

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.

Hosted by:



center logo

Event Details

Thu 09 May 2019
8 - 10 a.m.

725 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10021

Buy Tickets
$10 for members, $8 for students/seniors, $12 for non-members
Add to Calendar 20190509T120000 20190509T140000 UTC Asia Society: ChinaFile Presents: Hong Kong’s Relationship with Beijing — An Update 725 Park Avenue New York, NY 10021