Gavin Jacobson is based in Hong Kong. He writes about Asian history and politics for the London Review of Books, The New Yorker, The Times Literary Supplement, and the Financial Times. (December 2017)


Hong Kong Protests

Democracy activist Joshua Wong during his arrest at a protest in Hong Kong the day before a visit from Chinese president Xi Jinping, June 2017
In late 2015, Chinese security agents kidnapped five men associated with the Causeway Bay Books store in Hong Kong. Popular with tourists from the mainland, the shop specialized in salacious works on the private lives of Chinese Communist Party members, as well as studies forecasting the Party’s imminent downfall. Sandwiched …


The Hateful Monk

Ashin Wirathu and his followers in Barbet Schroeder's The Venerable W., 2017

Ashin Wirathu, the subject of Barbet Schroeder’s new documentary, The Venerable W., is composed and polite—he’s also responsible for inciting some of the worst acts of ethnic violence in Myanmar’s recent history. What’s disturbing about Wirathu is that the aim of his public sermonizing is to transform the impressionable into unthinking agents of his intolerance. Wirathu both channels and reflects the ways in which social media has transformed hate into a thoughtless pastime.