Hong Kong Against the Odds

A discussion of the protest movement in Hong Kong with activist Samuel Chu, journalist Mary Kay Magistad, and historian Jeff Wasserstrom

About this Event

Over the last 18 months, protesters have gathered in world-historic numbers to demonstrate against state violence and what they see as the erosion of their autonomy and civil liberties. Against great odds, and in the face of police brutality, disappearances, a sweeping new National Security Law, the suspension of local elections, and a global pandemic, there doesn’t appear to be a clear end to this movement in sight.

Join us on Wednesday, September 30th at 5pm (PT) for a discussion with activist Samuel Chu, Founding and Managing Director of the Hong Kong Democracy Council and among the first international targets under the new National Security Law; journalist Mary Kay Magistad, former longtime East Asia Correspondent for PRX, founder of NPR’s Beijing bureau, and creator and host of the podcast, On China’s New Silk Road, and historian Jeff Wasserstrom, Chancellor’s Professor of History at UC Irvine and author, most recently, of Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink (2020).

About the Speakers


Managing Director @ Hong Kong Democracy Council

Samuel M. Chu is the founding and managing director of the Hong Kong Democracy Council, where he oversees HKDC’s formation and launch and directs the organization’s advocacy and training. Samuel was born and raised in Hong Kong and is the younger son of the Rev. Chu Yiu Ming, a veteran and leading pro-democracy organizer in Hong Kong who was the co-founder of Occupy Central that led to the Umbrella Movement in 2014 and was later tried, convicted, and sentenced for his role in leading the peaceful protest in 2019. As National Organizer for MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Samuel leads local and national advocacy campaigns around issues of food insecurity. Samuel has served as a fellow at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California, the founding President of OneLA-Industrial Areas Foundation, and the founding Executive Director of California Faith for Equality and California Faith for Equality Action Fund.


Creator & Host, “On China’s New Silk Road” podcast @ Global Reporting Centre

Mary Kay Magistad is creator and host of the podcast “On China’s New Silk Road,” with the Global Reporting Centre, reported on five continents. She lived and reported in China for 15 years, and in Southeast Asia for seven years before that. An award-winning correspondent first for NPR, then for PRI’s The World, she reported in every province in China, most countries in Asia and some in Africa about how China’s rise was affecting individual lives and having global impact. Her podcast “Whose Century Is It?,” a Webby Award honoree, takes a deep dive into ideas, trends and twists shaping power dynamics around the world in this century. Mary Kay has taught international reporting and audio journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and served as a judge for several years for both the Overseas Press Club Awards and the Society of Publishers in Asia awards. Among her own awards are a dupont-Columbia Silver Baton, an Overseas Press Club award, and awards from Sigma Delta Chi/Society of Professional Journalists and the Scripps-Howard Foundation. She has been a Nieman Fellow and Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University.


Chancellor’s Professor, History @ University of California, Irvine

Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, where he also holds courtesy appointment in Law and Literary Journalism. He is Advising Editor for China at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Founding Editor of The China Channel, and the author of Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink and five previous books, including China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (co-authored by Maura Elizabeth Cunningham) and Eight Juxtapositions: China through Imperfect Analogies from Mark Twain to Manchukuo. He is an adviser to the Hong Kong International Literary Festival and a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. Follow him on Twitter at @jwassers.

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