An intimate, eye-opening chronicle that should serve as an alarm to fragile democratic republics around the world.

TODAY HONG KONG, TOMORROW THE WORLD

WHAT CHINA'S CRACKDOWN REVEALS ABOUT ITS PLANS TO END FREEDOM EVERYWHERE

Pertinent, mournful reflections on how mainland China continues to tighten its grip on the freedoms held so dear by the Hong Kong community.

Clifford, who has made his living in the city as a journalist and newspaper publisher since 1992, begins with a vital question: “How did a beacon of prosperity and freedom, a city of peaceful rallies where fathers stood vigil with their school-age children, find itself transformed into a place of firebombing and tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition?” The author begins in 2014 with the Occupy Central movement, which, after initially dying down, regained momentum in the summer of 2019 following the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4. Soon after, writes Clifford, the government, “angered at its inability to bring Hong Kong to heel and convinced that Western plots to overthrow China lay at the roots of the protests, responded by ushering in an ominous new phase with the July 1, 2020 imposition of a draconian National Security Law and subsequent arrests of dozens of leaders of the democracy movement.” The author believes these crackdowns are reminiscent of the violent practices embraced during the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong, when neighbor turned against neighbor, student against teacher. In addition to a potent personal narrative, Clifford widens his scope to encompass the larger-scale, nefarious intentions of Beijing to maintain control over its satellites. The government’s methods have included efforts to tamp down Hong Kong’s Cantonese speakers and to lock down the film industry via censorship and plot alterations (a topic that Erich Schwartzel investigates comprehensively in his recent book, Red Carpet). 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.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27917-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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A deceptively slender but rich argument in favor of conserving liberal ideals—and liberal government.

LIBERALISM AND ITS DISCONTENTS

The renowned political scientist and philosopher considers classical liberalism and the broad range of enemies arrayed against it.

“By ‘liberalism,’ ” writes Fukuyama, “I refer to the doctrine…that argued for the limitation of the powers of governments through law and ultimately constitutions, creating institutions protecting the rights of individuals living under their jurisdiction.” Born of events such as the English civil war and the Enlightenment, this liberalism also encouraged diversity of thought, religion, and ethnicity, placing it squarely in the crosshairs of today’s authoritarian nationalists, not least Donald Trump. Fukuyama has often been identified with conservative causes, but his thinking here is democratic to the core, and he has no use for such pathetic lies as Trump’s insistence that the 2020 election was stolen. That said, the author notes that liberalism has many enemies on both the left and the right for numerous real yet correctable failings. The neoliberalism that has emerged over the past couple of generations has accelerated inequality, and numerous institutions have been eroded while others, such as the Electoral College, have been revealed to be anti-democratic. Both left and right, the author argues, have trouble accepting that governing over diversity, the hallmark of liberalism, means governing over many ethnic and national groups, strata of income, and competing interests. He adds, however, “Left-of-center voters…remain much more diverse” in political outlook. Essential to a liberal society, Fukuyama insists, is the right to vote: “Voting rights are fundamental rights that need to be defended by the power of the national government.” While he insists that individual rights take precedence over group rights, he also observes that the social contract demands citizen participation. To the conservative charge that the social contract is one thing but the “common moral horizon” another, he answers that yes, liberalism does not insist on a single morality—which “is indeed a feature and not a bug.”

A deceptively slender but rich argument in favor of conserving liberal ideals—and liberal government.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-374-60671-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.

HOW TO PREVENT THE NEXT PANDEMIC

The tech mogul recounts the health care–related dimensions of his foundation in what amounts to a long policy paper.

“Outbreaks are inevitable, but pandemics are optional.” Thus states the epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, a Gates adviser, who hits on a critically important point: Disease is a fact of nature, but a pandemic is a political creation of a kind. Therefore, there are political as well as medical solutions that can enlist governments as well as scientists to contain outbreaks and make sure they don’t explode into global disasters. One critical element, Gates writes, is to alleviate the gap between high- and low-income countries, the latter of which suffer disproportionately from outbreaks. Another is to convince governments to ramp up production of vaccines that are “universal”—i.e., applicable to an existing range of disease agents, especially respiratory pathogens such as coronaviruses and flus—to prepare the world’s populations for the inevitable. “Doing the right thing early pays huge dividends later,” writes Gates. Even though doing the right thing is often expensive, the author urges that it’s a wise investment and one that has never been attempted—e.g., developing a “global corps” of scientists and aid workers “whose job is to wake up every day thinking about diseases that could kill huge numbers of people.” To those who object that such things are easier said than done, Gates counters that the development of the current range of Covid vaccines was improbably fast, taking a third of the time that would normally have been required. At the same time, the author examines some of the social changes that came about through the pandemic, including the “new normal” of distance working and learning—both of which, he urges, stand to be improved but need not be abandoned.

Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-53448-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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