In the vein of Behind the Beautiful Forevers and Nothing to Envy, a narrative history of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement, culminating in the 2019 mass protests and Beijing's crackdown, through the eyes of those who were there.
The multi-million-member protest movement in Hong Kong was actually gaining ground until COVID-19 hit. Then the marches stopped, and Beijing passed a draconian national security law designed not just as an answer to protests but the “problem” of Hong Kong people's fundamental desire for democracy and their own identity.
During the pandemic, many protesters were either forced into prison or exile. Referred to in Cantonese as "the braves," these frontline protestors represented a larger movement around the world: a youth movement in which activists saw little hope for their future, so they were willing to risk everything to fight economic, racial, and social inequities, inaction against climate change, and the rise of authoritarianism.
Among the Braves tells the story of four activists—three spurred by the current conditions and one who came to prominence after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. They played key roles in Hong Kong's evolution from peaceful marches to a more violent explosion of anger demonstrated on the streets in 2019. When Beijing silenced the city, these people faced a choice between exile and jail. Through the protestors’ lives and a supporting cast they came to know through their on-the-ground reporting, authors Shibani Mahtani and Timothy McLaughlin tell the story of Hong Kong’s past, and globally, the outlook for future generations.
About the Author
Shibani Mahtani is an international investigative correspondent for the Washington Post. She was previously the Post's Hong Kong and Southeast Asia bureau chief and a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal based in Singapore, Yangon, and Chicago. Her Hong Kong coverage was honored with prizes including a Human Rights Press Award for an investigation into police misconduct. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Timothy McLaughlin is a prize-winning contributing writer for The Atlantic. Previously he worked for Reuters news agency. His work has also appeared in publications including WIRED, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and Prospect. He has won multiple awards for his Hong Kong coverage, including two Best in Business Awards from the Society for Advancing Business Editing, and is a two-time finalist for The Livingston Award for International Reporting. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. Mahtani and McLaughlin split their time between Washington, DC and Singapore.