Ideas Are Bullet-Proof: A Conversation with Ching Kwan Lee

Ching Kwan Lee is a sociology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and former Chung Sze-Yuen Professor of Social Science and chair professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST, 2019–21). She is the author of several award-winning monographs on Chinese capitalism and labour, including Gender and the South […]

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Words Against the Wind: A Conversation with Liu Wai Tong

Liu Wai Tong (廖偉棠) is a poet, writer, and photographer. He was born in 1975 in Guangdong Province, later moved to Hong Kong, lived in Beijing for five years, and currently lives in Taipei. Liu has received the Hong Kong Biennial Award for Literature, the Taiwan Times Literature Award, and the United Daily News Literature […]

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Peddling the Revolution?

How Hong Kong’s Protesters became Online Vendors in Taiwan

Some former Hong Kong protesters who fled to Taiwan have resorted to selling local products online to Hong Kong-based consumers to make a living. This essay argues that these purchases become both an alternative form of financial support from Hong Kong’s politically conscious consumers and business transactions endowed with political meaning. Not without ambivalences, these online vendors sell more than products, but also a lifestyle, an identity, and a commitment—in short, a revolutionary dream at a time when street protests in their home city are no longer feasible.

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Restructuring the Political Society during Autocratisation: The Case of Hong Kong

The case of Hong Kong illustrates a problem not discussed in the literature on democratization. Is it possible to create and have a functioning democratic political subsystem within a nondemocratic state? Can a democratic political subsystem exist within the overall framework of a totalitarian or post-totalitarian state? Politically, probably not—because of the example that it […]

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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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Hong Kong’s Socioeconomic Divide on the Rise

Lessons from the ‘Redevelopment’ of the Graham Street Market

In 2007, Hong Kong’s Urban Renewal Authority declared the 150-year-old Graham Street Market ‘a slum’ and announced ‘redevelopment’ plans that would replace it with four luxury high-rise office buildings and hotels. This essay analyses the market’s historical function and the actions of concerned civil society organisations vis-a-vis government authorities and urban developers in the battle […]

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Mapping the Affective Neighbourhood in Post-Protest Hong Kong

Looking closely at the changing faces and materials of some pedestrian surfaces, this essay shows the transformation of neighbourhood space and culture in Hong Kong during and after the 2019 protests. By showing the movements and sensual encounters of residents walking through their neighbourhoods, the article reveals the affective everyday encounters or an emergent politics of affect in which the ‘intensities of feeling’—sounds, senses, and other non-verbal dynamics—prevail, so deepening an understanding of authoritarian politics as embodied in everyday life.

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Phantom Sounds, Haunting Images

The Afterlife of Hong Kong’s Visual Protest Culture

Before the enactment of the National Security Law, recordings of and artistic productions about the 2019 prodemocracy movement were thriving on Hong Kong’s streets, university campuses, in social media, the press, and the cultural sphere at large. Now that protests have almost disappeared from public space, and symbols and slogans are criminalised, what happens to the profuse and popular visual culture generated by the protests? This essay revisits the rapidly changing landscape of the visual culture of Hong Kong protests and examines how some of its components have been affected by political developments, leading to a shift in its regime of visibility.

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A New Chapter for Hong Kong’s Labour Movement?

The optimism triggered by the growth of a more powerful independent labour movement in Hong Kong in 2019 has now been replaced with pessimism about the very survival of such a movement. If one chapter has arguably been closed, what will the next chapter look like for Hong Kong’s labour movement? This essay looks at […]

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‘Strike Down Hard Resistance and Regulate Soft Resistance’

The Securitisation of Civil Society in Hong Kong

This essay offers a first-hand account of the current crackdown on civil society in Hong Kong. Under the new national security regime, the securitisation of civil society has posed new structural challenges to the organisational sustainability of all types of civil society groups. Facing the risk of criminal liability, organisations had to adapt their strategies and behaviours to a precarious environment and continue to pursue their missions; many have chosen to disband or self-censor. Understanding this terrain is of the utmost importance for navigating through uncharted territory

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