China may view Hong Kong protests as needing ‘forceful and violent crackdown,’ says Rice U. expert

EXPERT ALERT

Jeff Falk
713-348-6775
jfalk@rice.edu

China may view Hong Kong protests as needing ‘forceful and violent crackdown,’ says Rice U. expert

HOUSTON — (July 3, 2019) – What do protests in Hong Kong mean for its special status and the Chinese government? Rice University’s Steven Lewis, an expert on China, is available for interviews to discuss the rising tension.

Credit: 123RF.com/Rice University

Lewis, who is professor in the practice, research fellow at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and associate director at Rice’s Chao Center for Asian Studies, said the most recent protests in Hong Kong have surprised many with the superficially destructive and yet highly symbolic storming of the legislative chambers and some offices by young protestors in particular, and Beijing openly calling for accountability.

“In previous years, the government has waited until smaller student protests have died down to declare them riots and then charged select youth as rioters,” Lewis said. “This time, the youth who defaced the legislative council chambers felt they had no choice but to resort to destruction in order to force the hand of the Hong Kong government to promise now to not declare the recent large mass protests peaceful. They are gambling that the government will back down and not charge them, or more much larger protests will follow.”

Youth leaders in particular may feel they have no choice but to lash out, potentially alienating more conservative older members of society who are equally opposed to the new extradition law with the rest of the People’s Republic of China, Lewis said. “Meanwhile, Beijing may see this as an escalation of protest that demands a forceful and violent crackdown,” he said.

To schedule an interview with Lewis, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.

Rice University’s Baker Institute has a broadcast interview studio with a high-definition television uplink and an ISDN line for radio.

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Related materials:

Steven Lewis biography: www.bakerinstitute.org/experts/steven-w-lewis

Follow Rice News and Media Relations on Twitter @RiceUNews.

Follow the Baker Institute on Twitter @BakerInstitute.

Image for download:

www.bakerinstitute.org/media/files/expert/2ce6feb8/steve-lewis.jpg

Steven Lewis image courtesy of Rice University’s Baker Institute.

This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu.

Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top three university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blog.bakerinstitute.org.   

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.