Conflict over Hong Kong: Implications of Beijing’s New National Security Law


Is Hong Kong a bellwether of US-China confrontation?

Beijing’s promulgation of a new national security law for Hong Kong has escalated tensions between the United States and China, highlighting both the emerging competition between the two governing systems and US concerns about China’s growing international assertiveness in East Asia. Are tensions over Hong Kong contributing to perceptions of a new US-China cold war? Will Beijing escalate in response to US pressure? And what do China’s moves in Hong Kong portend for its broader regional and global challenge to the United States?

To answer these questions, the Center for the National Interest hosted a webinar on July 22, 2020 featuring four prominent experts on the region:

• Ambassador Kurt Tong, who served as United States Consul General and Chief of Mission in Hong Kong and Macau from 2016 to 2019 and is now a Partner at The Asia Group in Washington, DC. Tong is a leading expert in diplomacy and economic affairs in East Asia, with thirty years of experience in the Department of State as a career Foreign Service Officer.

• Professor James Feinerman, the James M. Morita Professor of Asian Legal Studies and Co-Director of the Georgetown Law Asia Program at Georgetown University. Feinerman is a specialist on Chinese legal issues, having studied in China and taught at Peking University. He is the co-editor of The Limits of the Rule of Law in China (2001).

• Professor Steven Tsang, the Director of the SOAS China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Tsang is a specialist on twentieth-century Chinese history, with particular expertise on Chinese foreign policy, China-US relations, Hong Kong politics, and Hong Kong’s relations with mainland China.

• Dr. Paul Heer, a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for the National Interest and a former National Intelligence Officer for East Asia. Heer analyzed Chinese and broader East Asian foreign policy and politics during his 30 years in the Intelligence Community.

Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of The National Interest, served as the moderator for the discussion.