A man waves a US national flag at an anti-government rally in Hong Kong in 2019. Photo: AFP A man waves a US national flag at an anti-government rally in Hong Kong in 2019. Photo: AFP
A man waves a US national flag at an anti-government rally in Hong Kong in 2019. Photo: AFP
Martin Powers
Opinion

Opinion

Martin Powers

In Hong Kong, the US and Britain, the truth about ‘liberty’ will set you free

  • Most people think liberty refers to the protection of universal rights but for most of British history it meant special privileges enjoyed by groups
  • Groupthink shaped policy in colonial Hong Kong and Western democracies did not raise serious objections even when human rights norms were violated

A man waves a US national flag at an anti-government rally in Hong Kong in 2019. Photo: AFP A man waves a US national flag at an anti-government rally in Hong Kong in 2019. Photo: AFP
A man waves a US national flag at an anti-government rally in Hong Kong in 2019. Photo: AFP
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Martin Powers

Martin Powers

Martin Powers is Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. He has written three books on the history of social justice in China. Two of these won the Levenson Prize for best book in pre-1900 Chinese Studies.