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November 16, 2020


#Non-fiction City On Fire: Hong Kong

by N@ncy

  • Title: City On Fire: The Fight for Hong Kong
  • Author: Antony Dapiran
  • Genre: non-fiction
  • Published: 2020
  • #NonficNov
  • Trivia: Long-listed for the Walkley Book Award 2020

UPDATE: 31.01.2021 – article in the Guardian

  1. Leave Hong Kong….before it’s too late!!

UPDATE:  25.11.2020 – article in The Guardian

  1. Carrie Lam praises new security law.
  2. Hong Kong is a gaping hole in the security of the mainland!
  3. NO OPPOSITION…can you imagine living there?


  1. Antony Dapiran is a Hong Kong-based writer and lawyer.
  2. His  book chronicles the Hong Kong protests of 2019.
  3. I am just curious what is going on in Hong Kong
  4. ….behind only  the TV images I have seen.


  1. Back round information about Hong Kong that
  2. passed me by while I was concentrating all my
  3. attention on USA  politics
  4. 2019 – impeachment Trump
  5. 2020 – elections USA.
  1. Strong point:
  2. reveals the the  strategy, tactics  of the protestors.
  3. Strong point:
  4. writing is concise....with important analysis:
  5. Remember:
  6. Beijing knows if it deploys troops to Hong Kong
  7. …that would mark THE DEATH
  8. of Hong Kong’s status as in international
  9. …financial hub!
  10. Chairman Xi would snuff out  hopes of his “China Dream”.
  1. Strong point:
  2. This book reveals the face of Chinese power to the world!
  3. It seems I have taken my eye off the ball during 2020
  4. …blinded by US politics.
  5. New rule:  read more about China!
  6. Don’t skip the headlines in the newspapers
  7. …because change is coming sooner than you think!
  8. #Taiwan is in China’s  cross-hairs!
  1. Read your newspapers.
  2. …and watch the slow and steady
  3. …squeeze as Beijing first isolates Hong Kong to weaken it
  4. …then pushes it towards integration with the mainland China.
  5. How long will this take?
  6. #MustRead non-fiction book
  7. …..history in the making!

Last thought:

  1. Do not  let ‘short lists’ influence your reading...
  2. I thought this book was 100 X better than
  3. the books designated as
  4. …potential winners Walkley Award 2020 on 20 November.
  5. Fallen by L. Morris-Marr
  6. We Can’t Say We Didn’t KnowS. McNeill
  1. Is the book a prize winner?
  2. No,  unfortunately it has not been shortlisted
  3. .but it should have been on the shortlist!! !
  4. This book will help you
  5. …follow the news into 2021 about Hong Kong!
  6. #ThisProblemIsNotOverYet

November HK News:   update

  1. What state power has been doing is to try and subdue
  2. the few organizations that remain independent.
  3. daring and professional. (free press)
  4. They really want to close down this environment of open information.
  5. July 2020:  draconian national security law
  6. 12 Aug 2020: Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy La arrested.
  7.  who is owner  of  …one of Hong Kong’s most-read newspapers.
  8. 12 November 2020: Hong Kong opposition resigns en masse
  9. after members ousted from parliament.
  10. The end of  “One State, Two Nations”

If your interested….my notes on the chapters


  1. A Death in Taipei
  2. ….very obvious ‘hook’ chapter
  3. …with ref to a gruesome murder!
  1. The March of One Million – 09 June 2019
  2. Protests over proposed legislation that could have
  3. allowed residents to be extradited to China
  4. where they could face possible torture and unfair trials.
  1. Blocking the Bill
  2. flashback 2014 the ‘Umbrella Movement’
  3. comparison with 12 June 2019 demonstration
  1. The March of Two Million – 16 June 2019
  2. Protesters have mainly focused their anger on Lam,
  3. who had little choice but to carry through dictates issued by Beijing,
  4. where President Xi Jinping has enforced increasingly authoritarian rule.
  1. Be Water!
  2. Ref:  Bruce Lee — philosophy”
  3. ‘Be like water making its way through cracks.
  4. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object,
  5. and you shall find a way around or through it.
  1. Storming the System “..the (extradition) bill is dead”..or is it?
  2. Reclaim Hong Kong! Revolution of Our Times!  – protest 21 July 2019
  3. The Right to the City – protests move to airport
  4. and shopping malls on 26 July 2019
  5. …protestors weaken urban infrastructure to service their protest!
  6. BloomingArt/graffiti  posed as much as
  7. challenge to Beijing’s authority in the city
  8. …as the black-clad youth in the streets.
  1. The Battle of Sheung Wan – 28 July 2019
  2. Upper Street (the English name for Sheung Wan)
  3. a peaceful and quiet neighborhood with hints of cosmopolitan
  4. London and a bit of Chinese grit.
  5. Protests shape shift into clashes in different districts
  6. …constantly changing the frontline!
  7. Protests  resemble  Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables!
  8. Act 1: build barricades
  9. Act 2: clash with police
  10. Act 3: protestors ‘being water’ and disappear
  11. Curtain falls: …police face an empty street.
  1. Strike! – 05 August 2019
  2. …..general strike compared with 1967 strike
  3. …was not very successful b/c of no support from the unions
  1. Things Fall Apart – bloody Sunday, 11 August 2019
  2. VERY GOOD CHAPTER…read carefully!
  3. police use new tactic: disguised as protestors …suddenly turned
  4. …without warning on their neighbours in the crowd
  5. …stoking suspicion and paranoia.
  6. More airport protests, but the movement starts falling apart
  7. …because of lack of discipline.
  1. A Protest of Enchantment – 23 August 2019
  2. Hong Kong protesters join hands in 30-mile human chain.
  3. …and just as the clock struck 9pm…the people quietly dispersed.
  4. …a fleeting moment, an important enchanting statement.

  1. The End of Summer –  31 August 2019
  2. Police shoot pepper spray as they try to detain protesters
  3. inside a train at Prince Edward metro Station.
  4. This is the final breakdown between city and its police force.
  5. Most disturbing trend in 2019:
  6. the appropriation of the Hong Kong Police Beijing.

  1. One State, Two Nations – 04 September protest
  1. Resist! – announcement of
  2. 04 October curfew and…
  3. anti-masking law and…
  4. criminal charges for revealing personal details of police online
  5. ..this is called  “doxxing”.
  6. Injunction: check people posting on internet (chat groups)
  7. …and service providers and server hosts.
  8. Many would now conclude…it was safer to stay silent.
  1. City on Fire –  01 October 2019
  2. A fire burns during an anti-government protest in
  3. Hong Kong on the 70th anniversary of the
  4. founding of the People’s Republic of China

  1. The Siege 19 November 2019
  2. Police assault the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong
  3. PolyU has been occupied by protesters for several days.
  4. Police warned protesters they had until 22:00 to leave the campus,
  5. saying they could use live ammunition if the attacks continued.
  6. There were daring escapes: students running across rooftops
  7. …crawling through sewer system. A girl was helped by a Whatsapp
  8. …sent to her to guide her through a little-known gap in PolyU perimeter.
  1. The Silent Majority – 24 November 2019
  2. Hong Kong goes to the polls.
  3. Hong Kong’s opposition pro-democracy
  4. movement has made unprecedented gains.
  5. Despite fears the vote could be disrupted or
  6. cancelled over the unrest, it went ahead peacefully.
  7. NOTE: ….where is the opposition now?
  8. …See news 12 Nov 2020
  1. A Way of Live….   VERY GOOD CHAPTER…read carefully
  2. The question is now “How does it end?”
  3. Violence has been normalized…both state and street violence
  4. HK’s reputation is damaged….not an example of good goverance
  5. Visible lasting impact of the protests:
  6. HK has become a security state.
  7. HK is a city on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 16 2020

    This is so fascinating, Nancy. I know absolutely nothing about this topic. I like that you mentioned that shortlists aren’t always the best gauge. So many deserving books don’t get those kind of accolades that it does make me wonder a bit about various awards. Anyway, fantastic review!


  2. Nov 17 2020

    Our Australian non-fiction section is very strong, but still I had not heard of Dapiron! I should pay closer attention to the Walkley longlists.
    Our news has had a lot of the Hongkong story for most of the year. China and Aust are geographically very close, & we keep a close eye on things in our region. There have been lots of discussions about how best to manage/negotiate China’s emergence as another super-power in the world scene. It’s not going well for us atm with a few key trade deals being boycotted because China is unhappy with comments made by some of our leaders and in the media. It’s very tricky.
    We had an author interview with Geoff Raby at work last week. He’s a ‘China expert’ and his latest book is all about what we need to do with China – it’s about an hour, when you have the time.


    • Nov 17 2020

      Oh, thank you so much for this video. I will watch it for sure!
      China…is a nation on a ‘long-term’ mission and the world must prepare for its influence on us all!
      I wonder if anyone asks for Dapiran’s book in the bookstore?

      Liked by 1 person


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. #AusReadingMonth2020 Wrap-up | NancyElin
  2. After the Count…should have won Walkley Award 2020 | NancyElin
  3. AusReading Month – Wrap Up Post – Brona (This Reading Life)

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