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Politically Correct Masks: Navigating the China Hong Kong Border During COVID-19

In Hong Kong and Wuhan, recent facemask-wearing policies have forced people to wear their political allegiance on their faces. In Hong Kong in 2019, wearing a mask was interpreted within the context of ongoing protests against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In Wuhan in 2020, the same action became a signal of the efficiency of […]

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The Enduring Importance of Space Within a Virtual Border: The Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s Trading Hall

In the first eight months of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread globally from China, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange still managed to raise more than US$19 billion in initial public offerings (IPOs) of corporate stock. This sum was a remarkable return to form after the region was rocked by protests in 2019; less than […]

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Narrating Mobility as an Achievement on the Shenzhen–Hong Kong Border

‘Where are you from?’ Whenever this question is asked in Shenzhen, the usual expectation is that you will not hear ‘Shenzhen’ as a response. Rather, it is widely assumed that almost everyone is from somewhere else. As its nickname, ‘city of immigrants’ (移民城市), suggests, Shenzhen is widely regarded as a migrant-receiving destination. Mobility and migration […]

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Border at the Centre of Myth: Fishing Village, Caiwuwei, Shenzhen

Walking alongside the Shenzhen River, overlooking the distinct difference between the two sides of the Shenzhen–Hong Kong border, one enters a space formed and captured by photography, maps, and monuments: Fishing Village (渔民村) in Caiwuwei, Luohu district. In fact, this is the famous ‘fishing village’ that Deng Xiaoping visited during his 1984 inspection tour of […]

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From the Third Front to the Second Line: The Construction Soldiers of Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a migrant city, and every migrant must cross multiple borders—physical and administrative, social and cultural—to fully belong in the city. The 20,000 members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Engineering Corps (中国人民解放军基本建设工程兵), who arrived in Shenzhen between 1979 and 1982, were the earliest and largest batch of state-sponsored migrants during Reform and Opening […]

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Hong Kong, China: The Border as Palimpsest

In the late morning of 11 March 1899, Hong Kong’s Colonial Secretary James Stewart Lockhart and Huang Zongxin, a representative of the Governor General at Canton in China’s Guangdong Province, met in Lockhart’s council chamber. Both men produced maps of China’s Xin’an (新安) County as guides to their discussion of the boundaries of the New […]

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An Anatomy of Trump’s Appeal to Chinese Liberals: A Conversation with Teng Biao

Since coming to power, former US President Donald Trump has attracted and maintained a remarkable following among the Chinese diaspora in and outside the United States. These Trump followers come from different backgrounds and their support has a variety of motivations, which is nothing unusual. What is out of the ordinary, though, is the popularity […]

The Children of China’s Great Migration: A Conversation with Rachel Murphy

In recent decades, China has witnessed the largest movement of people in world history, with hundreds of millions of rural migrants floating between the cities where they work and the countryside where they make their homes. This has had dramatic implications for family life in rural China, and in the 2010s more than 61 million […]

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