PositiveThe BafflerThe slim volume, part of the Columbia Global Reports imprint, offers a concise overview of the city’s troubled past, tracing the current unrest back to a flawed political makeup with its roots in British rule ... As far as analyses go, this is hardly novel. Vigil reflects the mainstream view on China that has emerged out of American academia, a discourse that Wasserstrom helped shape with books like China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know... He understands Xi Jinping as the driving force behind an imperialist China that will continue to hound fringe territories like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang, and Tibet. With Xi’s rule unchallenged, the prospect of meaningful autonomy in Hong Kong grows dimmer by the day. Wasserstrom sees protesters as trapped by geopolitical forces beyond their control, awaiting a looming crackdown; the best they can do is delay the inevitable ... Of course, simply dreaming of liberation will not avert the depressing fate suggested in Vigil. But the slogan is powerful because it rebukes fatalism—it gives permission to Hongkongers to imagine a future in which they are free. Already people are bonding over this shared aspiration, which opens up daily life to opportunities for caring and solidarity.