Hong Kong: Human Rights in Asia Students Return to Campus

The dynamic city of Hong Kong—a multicultural special economic zone and contested democracy with a vibrant popular press and a long history of support for regional grassroots politics—was the site for three weeks of an investigation into human rights locally and across Asia as part the College’s new September courses. Twenty College students and two Pozen Center-affiliated faculty, Johanna Ransmeier and Mark Philip Bradley (History), explored the human rights challenges facing Hong Kong and the region today.

Topics as diverse as labor rights, gender and sexuality, democracy, access to healthcare and education, and freedom of expression were at the center of this experientially-based course. It also explored the relationships between art, exhibition practices, the media, and human rights. The University’s new Hong Kong Campus served as home base for the course, which also included short field excursions to dialogue with human rights actors, journalists, curators, and artists.

The course unfolded against the sustained protests that have rocked Hong Kong since June 9—protests aimed at political reform, police accountability, and democratic rule.  

The capstone of this intensive course was student op-eds that discussed a particular local or regional human rights problem, including the protest movement in Hong Kong. We include a selection of those op-eds below.  


"Hong Kong's Next Steps North"
Mark Hillary (Physics, A.B. '20)

"Domestic Workers: The Faces of Modern-Day Slavery"
Kiana Hobbs (Computer Science, A.B. '21)

"There is No Neutral Ground in Hong Kong"
Jacob Walter (Environmental/Urban Studies, A.B. '21)

“'Glory to Hong Kong': An Emerging Nationalism in Hong Kong"
Jordi Vasquez (Political Science and History, A.B. '20)

"Technology and the Uighur Crisis"
Cecilia Katzenstein (History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, A.B. '21)

"Hong Kong Seeks US Support, and We Must Respond"
Kelli Hu (A.B. '22)

"The Psychology of the PRC’s Propaganda Campaign: The Global Disinformation War Waged on Uighurs" 
Lauren Hooda (Chemistry, A.B. '20)

"Combating Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in China"
Emma Lichter (Biological Sciences and French, A.B. '20)

"Physical Disability Accommodations in Hong Kong"
Lindsey Pigott (Biological Sciences and French, A.B. '20)

"Guerilla Media: A look at the role of graffiti in Hong Kong’s protests for democracy"
Ah’Shaiyah Mitchell (Psychology and English Language/Literature, A.B. '21)

"We Need to Talk About the HKPF"
Nivedina A. Sarma (Chemistry, A.B. '20)

"Problematic Government Policies for Foreign Domestic Workers: A Call to Action for Working Women"
Emily Robb (Political Science and Philosophy, A.B. '21)

"America’s Role in the Current Hong Kong Protests—Helpful or Detrimental?"
Deanna Tang (Biological Sciences, A.B. '21)

"Post Processing: Freedom in Documentation of Lived Experiences and Histories"
Sarah Wasinger (Molecular Engineering, A.B. '21)

"Uniting Protests Into a Movement: The Why and Some How’s to Push for Democracy in Hong Kong"
Gregory Gannen Wong (East Asian Languages & Civilizations and Sociology, A.B. '21)

"Past, Present, and Future"
Jocelyn Zheng (Economics and Public Policy Studies, A.B. '21)

"'Anti'-Social Media: The Polarizing Force of Social Media Platforms as Seen in the Hong Kong Protests"
Thomas Zheng (Economics and Philosophy & Allied Fields, A.B. '19)

"Revolution of Our Times: A Fight for Hong Kongers and Hong Kongers Alone"
Annie Zhu (Public Policy Studies, A.B. '21)


Photographs taken by Sarah Wasinger (Molecular Engineering, A.B. '21) during the three weeks Human Rights in Asia students spent in Hong Kong: