Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow the World: What China's Crackdown Reveals About Its Plans to End Freedom Everywhere (Hardcover)

Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow the World: What China's Crackdown Reveals About Its Plans to End Freedom Everywhere By Mark L. Clifford Cover Image
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A gripping history of China's deteriorating relationship with Hong Kong, and its implications for the rest of the world.

For 150 years as a British colony, Hong Kong was a beacon of prosperity where people, money, and technology flowed freely, and residents enjoyed many civil liberties. In preparation for handing the territory over to China in 1997, Deng Xiaoping promised that it would remain highly autonomous for fifty years. An international treaty established a Special Administrative Region (SAR) with a far freer political system than that of Communist China—one with its own currency and government administration, a common-law legal system, and freedoms of press, speech, and religion.

But as the halfway mark of the SAR’s lifespan approaches in 2022, it is clear that China has not kept its word. Universal suffrage and free elections have not been instituted, harassment and brutality have become normalized, and activists are being jailed en masse. To make matters worse, a national security law that further crimps Hong Kong’s freedoms has recently been decreed in Beijing. This tragic backslide has dire worldwide implications—as China continues to expand its global influence, Hong Kong serves as a chilling preview of how dissenters could be treated in regions that fall under the emerging superpower’s control.

Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow the World
tells the complete story of how a city once famed for protests so peaceful that toddlers joined grandparents in millions-strong rallies became a place where police have fired more than 10,000 rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets and even live ammunition at their neighbors, while pro-government hooligans attack demonstrators in the streets. A Hong Kong resident from 1992 to 2021, author Mark L. Clifford has witnessed this transformation firsthand. As a celebrated publisher and journalist, he has unrivaled access to the full range of the city’s society, from student protestors and political prisoners to aristocrats and senior government officials. A powerful and dramatic mix of history and on-the-ground reporting, this book is the definitive account of one of the most important geopolitical standoffs of our time.

About the Author

MARK L. CLIFFORD is president of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong, the former executive director of the Asia Business Council, and a former board member at Next Digital. He is editorial chair of the Asian Review of Books, and served as editor in chief of both English-language papers in Hong Kong, The Standard and the South China Morning Post. An honors history graduate of UC Berkeley and a Walter Bagehot Fellow at Columbia University, he holds a Ph.D. in Hong Kong history from the University of Hong Kong.

Praise For…

“Powerful, comprehensive and poignant, this book offers a truthful and balanced overview of events in Hong Kong over the past three decades or more. As someone who has lived and breathed much of what Mark Clifford writes, I identify with it and endorse it totally. If you want to understand Hong Kong, the Chinese Communist Party and the threat to freedom itself, you must make it a top priority to read this book.”
—Benedict Rogers, co-founder and Chief Executive of Hong Kong Watch

“Gripping and powerfully-written, Clifford pulls in the reader through a vivid account of Hong Kong’s history and on-the-ground reporting on the students, business tycoons, and politicians central to this disturbing drama, that tells us much about the growing threat China’s top leaders pose to global freedoms. He taps into his deep experience running Hong Kong’s top English language newspaper, directing the business association representing the region’s most powerful companies, his close contacts with senior Hong Kong officials, and his crucial role as a director for Hong Kong’s once most independent media company, whose destruction is central to this modern tragedy. Clifford, who has spent most of his adult life in Hong Kong, is uniquely suited to tell this sad story…A must-read account on the ongoing destruction of Hong Kong and why it matters to the world.”
—Dexter Roberts, author of The Myth of Chinese Capitalism

“Mark Clifford has written a riveting and passionate account of China’s attack on Hong Kong and its broader implications. Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow the World parts the curtains on what every informed citizen should know and be thinking about.”
—Jeffrey E. Garten, Dean Emeritus, Yale School of Management

“The world has usually viewed Hong Kong as either a last gasp of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European colonialism or, more recently, as a buzzing beehive of modern capitalism. Neither image captures the surprising phenomenon that Mark Clifford details in this masterly study. Hong Kong has now become a front line in the world-wide quest for human freedom. Pursuit of it has spouted like a geyser from Hong Kong wellsprings that are located neither in national pride nor in appetite for lucre but in human nature itself—in the desire to be master of one’s own life. The Communist Party of China’s repression of Hong Kong is both fierce and unscrupulous, and the world ignores this stand-off at its peril. As Vaclav Havel has taught us, an assault on human dignity anywhere is an assault on it everywhere.”
—Perry Link, professor emeritus, East Asian Studies, Princeton University and author of An Anatomy of Chinese

"Clifford uses his background in business journalism to give sure-footed, brisk explanations of how the city’s real estate oligarchs rig the property market. He writes scathingly of how the British worked hand in hand with the business elite to suppress popular aspirations. And his firsthand account of [Jimmy] Lai’s arrest is heartfelt and telling."
New York Review of Books

"A powerful account of Hong Kong's slide into autocracy."
—"The Seven Books That Best Explain Hong Kong's History," The Economist

“An agile observer and diligent journalist, Clifford leads us through Hong Kong’s fraught modern history in relation to the striving for democratic freedoms, and he reveals many stark consequences brought about by the suppression of its spirit. An intimate, eye-opening chronicle that should serve as an alarm to fragile democratic republics around the world.”

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250279170
ISBN-10: 1250279178
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 1st, 2022
Pages: 320
Language: English

How to read more
( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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