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February 12–13, 2020

Since June 2019, Hong Kong has been facing social unrest on a scale and tenacity never seen before in the city’s history. The protests, sometimes violent, are damaging Hong Kong’s economy, causing deep divisions in its society, and casting a serious gloom over Hong Kong’s future. Hong Kong survived large scale social unrest before, in 1956 and in 1967. In both cases Hong Kong rebounded and became more consolidated and determined to generate strong economic growth. How different is this time and what can we learn? Join us for two interrelated lunch seminars led by Professor Bernard Yeung to explore these issues.

Professor Bernard Yeung was Dean of NUS Business School from 2008 to 2019 and currently serves as the President of Asia Bureau of Finance and Economics Research, as well as the Stephen Riady Distinguished Professor at NUS Business School. Before joining NUS in 2008, he was the Abraham Krasnoff Professor in Global Business, Economics and Management at New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business, and the Director of the NYU China House. Prior to that, he had taught at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and the University of Alberta. Professor Yeung has been published widely in top academic journals on topics covering finance, economics and strategy. He was a member of the Economic Strategies Committee in Singapore (2009), the Social Science Research Council (2016-18), and the Financial Research Council of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (2010-13). In 2018 he was awarded the Public Administration Silver Medal. Currently, Professor Yeung sits on the Advisory Boards/Councils of the Antai College of Economics and Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the Economics and Management School of Wuhan University, the National Taiwan University Business School and the Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica. He received his BA in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Western Ontario and his MBA and PhD degrees from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago.

Wednesday, February 12: 12-1pm | Harper Center C05
History and Hong Kong’s Unrest of 2019

The first session will trace the multiple years of political rallies in Hong Kong, the trigger events, and the trajectory of the social unrest up to date. These are linked to (i) the politics before and around the formation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law (1984-1990), (ii) the British political reforms in Hong Kong before the 1997 Handover (1985-1997), and (iii) Hong Kong governments’ internally inconsistent policies since 1997. The outcome is the development of a coalition of groups deeply distrusting of China, a change in Hong Kong’s social atmosphere, deepening social injustice, and Hong Kong youth’s decades of frustration. Triggered by an innocuous bill amendment, these came together to fuel a large scale and intensive unrest with long lasting effects.

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Thursday, February 13: 12-1pm | Harper Center C08
Past and Present: Lessons from Hong Kong’s 2019 Unrest

The second lecture will explore the similarities and dissimilarities in Hong Kong before 1997 and the decades after. These comparisons reveal that economics are not the only factors that drive Hong Kong’s unrest. The unrest could reflect other fundamental and interactive changes in Hong Kong’s social attitudes, political setting, geopolitical environment, communication environment (mass media and social media), and cultural identity over the last three decades. Hong Kong’s evolution shows the complexity of interactions between the market, governance, society, and cultural identity, especially in a fast-changing world. Hong Kong’s unrest is an intensified and condensed version of what many other countries also experience. We all can benefit from understanding what is occurring in Hong Kong.

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All seminars take place from 12 to 1 p.m. in Harper Center (5807 S Woodlawn Ave).