Shih-Diing Liu (刘世鼎) is Professor of Communication at the University of Macau. His articles have appeared in Dushu (读书), Twenty-First Century (二十一世纪), Positions: Asia Critique, Third World Quarterly, Interventions, and New Left Review. He is the author of The Politics of People: Protest Cultures in China (SUNY Press, 2019).

Why Is Reconciliation Impossible?

On the Clash of Emotions between Hong Kong and Mainland China

This essay presents an affective analysis of the antagonism between Hong Kong and mainland China. It illustrates the contexts in which the conflicts are driven by an accumulation of emotional experiences and imaginaries. The divergent emotional positions should be understood as a consequence of nationalism and nativism. Fear and pride are two opposing emotional structures that have become the material basis of ongoing confrontations. Each side uses its own experience to erase that of the other, making regional reconciliation difficult. We suggest that comparing the two structures of feeling helps identify the psychological mechanisms at work.

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