Hong Kong is Now Unmoored, the Old Ways Have Unravelled So Fast, In the absence of dialogue, violence is the only conversation between the two sides and every weekend the stakes are ratcheted higher. Nobody can predict what Hong Kong will look like at the end of the summer. What is certain, though, is that the city can no longer return to the way it once was.
The Guardian, Op-ed co-authored by Ilaria Maria Sala, Jul 28 2019
A massacre, erased. thanks to unrelenting censorship, most Chinese of my generation have not seen these images. In 2014, journalist Louisa Lim found that only 15 out of 100 students at four of China’s top universities were able to identify the iconic Tank Man photo. “Is it Kosovo?” one student asked. Among those who have heard about it, few know the scale of the protests and the magnitude of the ensuing brutality.
The Washington Post, 2019
Hong Kong is not China yet, but that feared day is coming ever nearer, there’s a flinty determination that underpins the realisation that, even if this struggle over the extradition law is won, there will be the next fight, then the next. Because Hong Kong is not China yet. Not yet, but 2047 moves ever closer at an accelerating pace. One message simply said: “Keep going till the end.”
The Guardian, Jun 16 2019
How Australia became the Defamation Capital of the World, Justice is supposed to be blind, but this legal battlefield favors those with financial means, impoverishing principles like freedom of the press. The ultimate damage will be to Australia’s democracy.
New York Times, Mar 5 2019
After Tiananmen, China conquers history itself, While all countries construct their own national narratives, few manage to rival the power of China’s deeply emotive patriotic nationalism and its unquestioned ability to punish those who publicly question the official version of history. The danger is that these tactics are so effective that China’s history is splitting in two: the Communist Party’s narrative at home, and other, more nuanced versions overseas. That divide may prove impossible to mend.
New York Times, Jun 2 2019
Hong Kong’s Propaganda Battle is playing out in the media - and in cyberspace. By tightening its control over Hong Kong’s freewheeling media, Beijing handicapped civil society’s ability to use traditional communication channels to inform. But Hong Kongers want to tell their own story — and have found innovative ways to do so against all odds. Hong Kong’s activists have managed to accelerate changes to the city’s media ecosystem and, in doing so, could reshape what modern protest looks like in the face of authoritarian regimes with a chokehold on information.
The Washington Post, op-ed co-authored by Ilaria Maria Sala, Jul 11 2019
Confucius Institute in NSW education department ‘Unacceptable’ This week China’s ministry of foreign affairs urged Malcolm Turnbull to “discard prejudice” and deepen the bilateral relationship rather than pursue measures aimed at shoring up Australia from the risks of foreign interference, insisting it “does not interfere in other countries’ domestic affairs”. The embassy in China also said the Australian media have “repeatedly fabricated” stories about Chinese influence and infiltration in Australia.
The Guardian, co-authored by Anders Furze, Dec 8 2017
Hong Kong has nothing left to lose, The turmoil is already damaging Hong Kong’s institutions, its international reputation and its desirability as a home. That fear was voiced on another banner, suspended on a wall on the other side of the legislative building, which read, “If we burn, you burn with us.”
New York Times, Jul 2, 2019
Inside China’s audacious global propaganda campaign, As Beijing and its proxies extend their reach, they are harnessing market forces to silence the competition. Discourse power is, it seems, a zero-sum game for China, and voices that are critical of Beijing are co-opted or silenced, left without a platform or drowned out in the sea of positive messaging created by Beijing’s own “borrowed” and “bought” boats. As the west’s media giants flounder, China’s own media imperialism is on the rise, and the ultimate battle may not be for the means of news production, but for journalism itself.
The Guardian, co-authored by Julia Bergin, Dec 7 2018
Overnight, my childhood home became a battleground. The Hong Kong streets where I grew up morphed into an alarming political flash point with riot police in gas masks firing tear-gas canisters at pro-democracy protesters, many of them defending themselves from the noxious white clouds with little more than umbrellas and plastic wrap......For China’s leaders, the accusation that foreign forces are manipulating students is easier to countenance than the idea that Hong Kongers are standing up for the high degree of autonomy promised to them. As students and activists faced off riot police amid the canyons of skyscrapers, one popular chant was simply, “Hong Kong People! Hong Kong People!” Such an assertion of a separate and distinct identity is anathema to President Xi, whose xenophobic nationalism can accept only one state-approved version of what it means to be Chinese.
Trouble at Home: Hong Kong's Path to Democracy
Though China's leaders do not want their population to remember June 4, they themselves cannot forget the students' unrealized demands, which remain more pressing than ever.... "What they're most afraid of is the people."
“All of these [incidents] reveal just how scared China’s leaders are of their own history,” says the author Lim, whose book addresses the Chinese government’s campaign to erase and distort memories of Tiananmen.
“The first stage was to control the narrative,” said Louisa Lim, author of The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited . “After that came the whole process of forgetting, of making people forget.”
It is the first year that people are being criminally detained for holding remembrances behind closed doors in private. We’ve seen a sea change in what is viewed as acceptable—and it appears that very little is acceptable this year.
"If I don't write this book, who will?" Interview with Louisa Lim, author of People's Republic of Amnesia
Shanghaiist, May 26 2014
"A major addition to the list of powerful books on China by talented journalists" in A Tale of Two First Books: A Conversation with NPR’s Louisa Lim and The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos
Los Angeles Review of Books Blog, May 26 2014
Ruth Marcus Op Ed in Washington Post, May 27 2014
"A perspetiva de qualquer reavaliação do veredito sobre Tiananmen parece hoje mais distante do que nunca", disse a agência Lusa a jornalista Louisa Lim, autora do livro "The People's Republico of Amnésia", publicado há um mês.
Confronting the past has been traumatic and difficult even for those on the other side of the divide, like the former PLA soldier Chen Guang, who was among the troops on the streets of Beijing that night. “Many have risen to positions in the government because they participated in the ‘suppression of counterrevolutionary turmoil’, as the government calls it; some were promoted”, he told Louisa Lim, author of The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited , which chronicles the stories of soldiers, students and ordinary citizens from 25 years ago and will be published on June 4. What is most difficult to grapple with when it comes to the memory of Tiananmen, as Lim writes, is that the “legacy of 1989 has not been all dark
National Book Festival, Washington DC, Aug 30th 2014
Hong Kong Erupts
The picture of Umbrella Man is a stunning image, showing a young man dressed in black, surrounded in a miasma of teargas, his arms raised. He holds a tattered umbrella high above his head, which does nothing to protect him from the fumes.... yet it still doesn’t quite have the gut-punch of Tank Man, who is literally putting his life on the line.
I would say the events of 1989 are the pivot point for China’s contemporary history....[leading] to the fast-paced economic growth that has lifted millions out of poverty and allowed disposable incomes to be almost 20 times higher now than they were in 1989. But they also account for many of the ills that bedevil China today, including the massive wealth gap between rich and poor, the growing nationalism, the morality crisis and the ascendancy of the security apparatus.
Featured on the New York Times Book Review podcast, where NYT Book Review editor Pamela Paul called the People's Republic of Amnesia "a brave piece of reporting" and "a powerful piece of documentation".
New York Times Book Podcast, May 23 2014
De Standaard, Belgium, 31 May 2014
It is a book that needed to be written, so I wrote it. Any price that I might have to pay will be far less than the price the people that I spoke to for the book have paid in the past and may pay in the future. For me, it may be sad not to go back to China, but it's not the end of the world.
"I wrote my book on a brand-new laptop that had never been online. Every night I locked it in a safe in my apartment. I never mentioned the book on the phone or in e-mail, at home or in the office — both located in the same Beijing diplomatic compound, which I assumed was bugged. I took these extreme measures because I was writing about that most taboo of topics in China: the Tiananmen Square crackdown of 1989, when soldiers opened fire on unarmed civilians on the streets of Beijing, killing hundreds of people, maybe even more than 1,000."
Dangerous Memories of Tiananmen Square, Op Ed by Louisa Lim in Washington Post, May 16, 2014
A posição de Xi Jinping "ficou clara quando ele anunciou que não iria repudiar o Presidente Mao", realçou Louisa Lim acerca da homenagem prestada ao fundador da Republica Popular da China no 120.º aniversário do seu nascimento, em dezembro passado.
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