HONG KONG, 1 June 2020 – The South China Morning Post (SCMP) and international academic publisher World Scientific announced today the launch of Rebel City: Hong Kong’s Year of Water and Fire—a new book that chronicles the political confrontation that has gripped the city since June 2019.
The anthology is a nuanced and in-depth account of the unprecedented turmoil and complex manoeuvrings that defined a summer of discontent, distilled from more than 5,000 news reports, analyses and commentaries from Hong Kong’s paper of record.
Rebel City is more than a collection of stories—it aims to profile the Hong Kong protests without fear or favour, underpinned by journalistic instincts that know every tale has multiple sides. It comprehensively outlines the city’s worst political crisis through a plurality of perspectives that goes beyond the perceived dichotomy of the people of Hong Kong versus its government.
This book is for anyone seeking to understand not just what Hong Kong has gone through but also the global phenomenon of increasingly leaderless protest movements. Edited by SCMP’s Deputy Executive Editor Zuraidah Ibrahim and Political Correspondent Jeffie Lam, the book draws on the work of journalists from the Post across Hong Kong, Beijing, Washington and Singapore—a team with unmatched access to all sides of the conflict.
Hong Kong was in retrospect ripe to be the laboratory for a new-age protest movement, fuelled by profound angst about the place of millennial youth in society, widening income inequality, and the speed of digital communications. The anti-extradition bill protests that morphed rapidly into a wider anti-government movement in 2019 left no aspect of the city untouched, from its social compact to its body politic to its open economy. Against the backdrop of the “one country, two systems” model and its growing ambiguities, SCMP’s reporting team took a contemplative look back at Hong Kong in Rebel City on its most wrenching political crisis since its return to Chinese rule in 1997.
“The book is a non-partisan account of the events of 2019 and a fact-based attempt to explain all the contradictions, nuances and complexities of the anti-government protest movement triggered by the ill-fated extradition bill. Rebel City encapsulates the blood, sweat and tears of a world city at a crossroads and is still impacted by those events today. I’m proud of what this book represents and our team’s contribution in covering one of the biggest social and political upheavals of our times,” said Tammy Tam, Editor-in-Chief, South China Morning Post.
“We are grateful to our newsmakers and sources on all sides of this complex story. The events of 2019 produced many conflicting narratives and shades of grey, and it was important to hear the voices of all who were impacted. No one has emerged from it unscathed. This book would not have been possible if they were not willing to share their perspectives so generously,” said Zuraidah.
“This insightful book provides a holistic array of differing perspectives during one of Hong Kong’s most turbulent times in recent history as the world witnessed the series of events unfold before its eyes. World Scientific is privileged to be a part of this book project that brings about first-hand accounts of different encounters from within the city,” said Mr Max Phua, Managing Director, World Scientific.