Humphrey Hawksley joined the BBC in 1983 and took up his first BBC foreign posting in 1986 to cover the Tamil civil war in Sri Lanka. He didn’t stay long. He was expelled after six months for revealing atrocities against civilians. From there, he specialized in the rapid and often painful growth of Asia: India as it fought religious wars and threw off the shackles of its closed economic system; The Philippines as it was rocked by rebellions; Hong Kong as it prepared to move from British colonialism to Chinese rule; and Beijing where he opened the BBC’s first ever television bureau.
It was in China, with Financial Times correspondent Simon Holberton, that Hawksley wrote Dragon Strike, the first in the internationally acclaimed ‘Future History’ series, that explored how a hostile China might plan to weaken the United States in the Asia-Pacific. Over the next five years, Hawksley published Dragon Fire that told of a conflict between India and an alliance of China and Pakistan, and he finished the trilogy with The Third World War.
In 1997, Hawksley moved back to London from where he has reported economic and political trends throughout the world.
His latest book Democracy Kills: What’s So Good About Having The Vote? is an unsettling examination of how Western-style democracy – when implemented carelessly in the developing world – can lead to conflict and poverty. And it asks what is the best way for people to go from dictatorship to democracy without bloodshed.
Democracy Kills: what’s so good about having the vote? (Macmillan, 2009)
'Privacy is Dead. Long Live Privacy?'
"This is an event where I feel that I can say exactly what I think - which is an extremely rare situation these days."
Geoff Dench, Senior fellow, Young Foundation