We Stood on Opposite Sides at a Pro-Hong Kong Rally—and Became Friends

On 29 September, amid global anti-totalitarianism protests (Cheng 2019), pro-Hong Kong activists in Boston called for the disruption of the city’s annual People’s Republic of China (PRC) flag-raising ceremony. Anticipating conflict, the Boston police put up street barricades, separating the crowd into two groups. On the inside were elderly Chinese residents from Boston’s Chinatown and […]

Can Chinese Students Abroad Speak? Asserting Political Agency amid Australian Nationalist Anxiety

Australian nationalist discourse rarely acknowledges the existence of Chinese international students except within ethnicised stereotypes—variously, as ‘cash cows’, ‘CCP spies’, and ‘patriotic students brainwashed from birth’ (Four Corners 2019; Hamilton 2018, 4). Daphne Zhao—a pseudonymous Australian-based Chinese graduate student—offers a welcome break from this increasingly paranoid oversimplification in her recent op-ed in this issue of […]

Hong Kong in Turmoil

Born and bred in Hong Kong, I normally pay a visit a couple of times every year to see relations and friends. The last visit, during July 2019, was to a city in turmoil. Many Hongkongers had been taking to the streets weekend after weekend, and then daily, for well over a month. It was […]

Governing Hong Kong like Any Other Chinese City

On 21 July, Hong Kong had a hair-raising night. In Central, where the city’s business district is located, riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds of protesters gathered for the anti-extradition bill march organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, a coalition of pro-democracy activists. At around 11pm at the Yuen Long […]

Orwell in the Chinese Classroom

This is the translation of a blog post published on 1 May 2019 by an anonymous Chinese student. For obvious reasons, we were unable to confirm the identity of the writer, but the account resonates with other testimonies from students at Peking University that appeared in the public record or which we have heard personally, […]

Rethinking the Cultural Politics of Globalisation: Where Do We Go from Here?

In the days following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU) on 23 June 2016, the same questions appeared repeatedly in the newspaper headlines and media debates: ‘What now?’ ‘What do we do now?’ ‘Where do we go from here?’ These are the cries of people who suddenly find themselves in a confusing, uncertain […]

Turmoil at the Grassroots in China’s Cultural Revolution: A Half-Century Perspective

This is the text of the 77th George E. Morrison Lecture given by Jonathan Unger on 3 November 2016. The Lecture Series is sponsored by the China Institute and the Australian Centre on China in the World. Almost exactly half a century ago, starting in the middle of 1966, Mao Zedong unexpectedly launched the Cultural […]

Oil and Water

Most Han in Xinjiang, Western China, have settled—or been settled by state decree—in the region since the Chinese Communist Party won the Civil War and took control of China in 1949. Since that time, the proportion of Han in the population has risen from 4 percent to at least 42 percent, and is now roughly […]

Chinese Dreams of Happiness: What Are the Chances?

The happiness of the Chinese people is one of the declared aims of the Chinese dream. An educational volume on social governance and welfare published by the official Red Flag Press entitled Building a Happy China sums it up like this: ‘The process of the reinvigoration of the Chinese nation equates to the building of […]

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