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Is Taiwan the Next Hong Kong?

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Is Taiwan the Next Hong Kong?

China Tests the Limits of Impunity

Foreign Affairs,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

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China may draw the wrong conclusions if America fails to respond adequately to its overreach in Hong Kong. 

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  • Eye Opening
  • Background
  • Concrete Examples


Following months of unrest in Hong Kong, China imposed a new security law that allows it to crack down on pro-democracy protesters and expand the Chinese Communist Party’s control over the city. President Trump may yet punish China for its overreach, but, as Asia experts Michael Green and Evan Medeiros argue, the stakes are higher than many US policymakers seem to grasp. By failing to take strong action, America may embolden China to make even riskier moves in locales like Taiwan. The authors suggest ways the United States can sensibly counteract Chinese aggression in Hong Kong and elsewhere.


America’s weak response toward China’s crackdown in Hong Kong could embolden Beijing to increase its aggression in the South China Sea.

Following a year of pro-democracy protests, China imposed a stringent national security law on Hong Kong which grants Beijing sweeping powers to stifle dissent. Some within President Trump’s administration have warned that a strong response to the crackdown would damage Hong Kong’s economy and, thus, drive the nation further into China’s orbit. Yet the United States should not make the mistake of treating China’s action in Hong Kong as an isolated issue. Hong Kong can serve as a test case for Beijing to gauge America’s potential reaction to future aggressive maneuvers in Taiwan and other neighboring states.

Taiwan may have the most to lose if China gets away with its draconian ...

About the Authors

Michael Green and Evan Medeiros are Professors of Asian Studies at Georgetown University. Green served as Senior Director for Asia at the National Security Council from 2004 to 2005; Medeiros occupied the position from 2013 to 2015.

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