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    Economic Repression in a New Hong Kong, 2019-2021

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    Event description

    This study examines the motivations and tactics of economic repression on non-compliant Hong Kong-based businesses. Traditionally, Hong Kong businesses were targets of economic co-optation of the Chinese and Hong Kong governments. In the wake of the 2019 anti-extraction bill movement, the regime did not only crack down on peaceful and violent protests. It also tightened control over other institutions and systems, including a free market, which made the β€œOne Country, Two Systems” framework work. What economic instruments does the regime employ to target defiant businesses? What are the tactics adopted by the regime to change the businesses’ behaviour? How do the businesses respond? Tracing the economic repression imposed on four selected companies from 2019-2021, it finds that both government and non-state actors can leverage economic tools to change the target business behaviour. Furthermore, it argues that economic repression aims to eliminate, convert or silence businesses that do not comply with the regime’s values. The economic front of political repression has profound impacts on resource mobilisation in political movements. This study contributes to the contentious political literature by conceptualising economic repression and characterising the tactics. It also has implications for authoritarian contexts beyond Hong Kong.

    About the Speaker

    Debby Chan is a lecturer at the Australian Centre on China in the World and Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University. Her research interests concern China’s economic statecraft. Her work explains the economic setbacks of Belt and Road projects in the host countries. Her research appears in The Pacific Review, The Third World Quarterly, Eurasian Geography and Economics, and International Affairs of Asia-Pacific. She is also the author of Defying the Great Power: Myanmar’s Resistance to Belt and Road Projects, 2011-2021 (ANU Press, forthcoming). Furthermore, Debby studies political consumerism in non-democratic contexts with a focus on Hong Kong. Her articles have been published in Critical Asian Studies and Journal of Civil Society.

    Debby obtained her doctorate in politics from The University of Hong Kong. She was previously a visiting fellow at the Department of Public and International Affairs at the City University of Hong Kong, and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Sociology at HKU.Β 

    The ANU China Seminar Series is supported by the Australian Centre on China in the World at ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.


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