Rebel City - Hong Kong's Year of Water and Fire
Rebel City - Hong Kong's Year of Water and Fire

Brought to you by SCMP's reporting team

Hong Kong's Year of Water and fire

A look back at Hong Kong's most wrenching political crisis since its return to Chinese rule in 1997


For International Orders: SCMP may not be able to ship your book to your location in a timely and economically feasible manner due to air travel restrictions. You may consider purchasing from Amazon, Kobo, Google Book,, or your local bookstores.



  • SCMP's reporting team looks back at Hong Kong's most wrenching political crisis since its return to Chinese rule in 1997. Anti-extradition bill protests that morphed rapidly into a wider anti-government movement in 2019 left no aspect of the city untouched, from its social compact to its body politic to its open economy. The demonstrations which continued well into 2020 have tested every institution of the city, from the civil service to the police to the courts and even its rail transport operator, and from offices and businesses to universities and schools, and from churches to families and even friends.
  • This book is for anyone seeking to understand not just what Hong Kong has gone through but also the global phenomenon of increasingly leaderless protest movements. Fueled by profound angst about the place of millennial youth in society, widening income inequality, and the speed of digital communications, Hong Kong was in retrospect ripe to be the laboratory for a new-age protest movement, nearly a decade after the Middle East's Arab spring.
  • The essays in the book collectively compose a picture of a society in trauma, bent and broken, but showing signs of an uncanny ability to bounce back. What shape it will be in a few years from now, however, is much harder to predict.

This excellent book is an inspiring reminder of the vital importance of a free press in any society that is struggling with difficult social and political problems. Throughout 2019, international observers relied on the South China Morning Post to reveal the full complexity of the Hong Kong situation. This book provides a chance for readers to reflect on what happened, and draw lessons for the future.

Kurt Tong

former United States Consul General to Hong Kong
and Partner at The Asia Group

'One of the British Prime Ministers once complained of bias in the media and he was asked in which direction, and he said it's biased in every direction.' - Chris Patten. The events in 2019 shocked and polarized Hong Kong. A fearless and vibrant press is indispensable in such times. It is the price to pay for a free and pluralistic society that the press provokes disagreement, irritates, or even occasionally gets it wrong. 

Paul Shieh SC

former Chairman, Hong Kong Bar Association

As mentioned in this book, the protests in Hong Kong against the extradition bill of 2019 were 'among the world's most visible political events in history'. Like the 2003 protest against the national security bill and the 'umbrella movement' of 2014, the 2019 movement was a watershed moment that raised fundamental questions about the future of 'one country, two systems'. 

Albert H Y Chen

Cheng Chan Lan Yue Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Hong Kong
and member of the Basic Law Committee

2019 was a turbulent and tumultuous year for Hong Kong. Events followed fast upon each other. This collection of stories, interviews and analysis by seasoned reporters from the South China Morning Post performs the crucial service of recording what happened, asking why it happened, and, most important of all, not rushing to any quick conclusions. 

Kerry Brown

Director, Lau China Institute, King's College London

Product details

Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Co and South China Morning Post Publishers Limited
Language: English
ISBN: 978-9811218606


Free delivery to Hong Kong, except Outlying Islands and Tung Chung, where additional fees may apply. International shipping rates vary. Please contact our Customer Service Team.

Order confirmation and delivery arrangement will be sent by our Customer Service Team.

Please allow for 10 - 15 business days for local delivery. International orders and delivery schedules cannot be guaranteed.

This special SCMP reader price may change without prior notice. Books stocks are limited.

For enquires, please contact (852) 2680 8180 or send an email to

South China Morning Post Publishers Limited
19/F Tower One, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.
Tel: (852) 2680 8180

Copyright © 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All Rights Reserved.