Books reviewed: Repression in Xi’s China
In Hong Kong in Revolt, labor organizer Au Loong-Yu analyzes the protests that rocked the city in 2019. The participants were pushing back against the politically motivated disqualification of pro-democracy legislators, the imprisonment of nonviolent activists on trumped-up charges, and other oppressive moves by the Hong Kong authorities, who represent local moneyed interests and take their cues from Beijing leaders who increasingly act like heads of an empire. Au sees both anti-capitalist and anti-colonial dimensions to the 2019 protests, although he argues that activists should have been less focused on what sets Hong Kong residents apart from those living in mainland urban centers and more interested in using shared working-class grievances as a basis for building border-spanning solidarity.
The War on the Uyghurs, by anthropologist Sean R. Roberts, who directs the International Development Studies Program at George Washington University, focuses on repression rather than resistance. Roberts makes a compelling case for seeing the Chinese Communist Party’s actions in Xinjiang, where many members of the largely Muslim local population are now detained in camps, as constituting a horrific crime against humanity.
Read together, these books show how the political conditions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, often treated separately, are linked….