The historical significance of the 2019 Hong Kong revolt

Soundings - ISSN 1362-6620
Volume 2021 Number 79

The historical significance of the 2019 Hong Kong revolt
Au Loong-Yu pages 37-50


This essay discusses why the Hong Kong 2019 revolt means so much for future democratic movements despite its tragic defeat and its weaknesses. This was a massive democratic movement, with entirely legitimate demands: the dropping of an extradition bill which could legalise Beijing’s attempts to prosecute Hong Kong citizens under the Mainland legal system; and the honouring of its commitment of granting universal suffrage to the Hong Kong people. This massive movement naturally brought with it multiple tendencies and contradictions. Taking advantage of the absence of a left labour movement, and a young generation who were newcomers to politics, right-wing and anti-Chinese voices became more vocal than their organisational strength might have indicated - though not strong enough to alter the fundamental character of this revolt as a democratic movement. In the last analysis, however, the balance of forces means that Hong Kong has little chance of preserving its liberty unless the Mainland situation begins to change. Success will ultimately depend on a united front between democratic forces in the Mainland and Hong Kong, an issue which the 2019 revolt has not thought sufficiently about. However, the 2019 revolt, which helped to consolidate democratic consciousness among millions in Hong Kong, itself constitutes a new starting point for the future of democratic struggle, both in the Mainland and in Hong Kong.

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To cite this article
Au Loong-Yu (2021) The historical significance of the 2019 Hong Kong revolt, Soundings, 2021(79), 37-50

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