What Melts in the “Melting Pot” of Hong Kong?


  • Ruth Y.Y. Hung, Hong Kong Baptist University




This paper analyses the vicissitudes of Hong Kong people‘s waves of hostility toward visitors from mainland China, treating the hostility as exemplary of a more general but extensive problem of racialism in China. It has two intentions. First, it wants to understand historically how since the start of the twenty-first century, the simplicity of Hong Kongers‘ confused response towards mainlanders has grown into a series of organised "anti-mainlander campaigns" and an allegedly "racist" phenomenon. Second, this paper seeks to document and investigate these sometimes-dangerous sentiments that characterise, confuse and overtake the Hong Kongers‘ struggle for liberal democracy and regional autonomy. To do so is not to pattern itself on the Chinese state‘s announced goal of policing Hong Kong‘s status as a "special administrative region." Although Hong Kongers derive small political benefit from such "campaigns," they have few ways in which they can overcome the prospect of losing their distinctiveness and becoming one of the many cities of "global China." Given the complex origins of this Hong Kong-mainland relationship in historical colonialism and global capitalism, and given the People‘s Republic‘s new power and status as a key player in the global capital order, Hong Kongers seek to express themselves through free speech, but doing so in a way which creates a public spectacle.


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Author Biography

Ruth Y.Y. Hung, Hong Kong Baptist University

Dr. Ruth Y.Y. Hung teaches Comparative Literature at Hong Kong Baptist University and is Advisory Editor for boundary 2: an international journal of literature and culture published by Duke University Press. Her latest publications in boundary 2 include “How Global Capitalism Transforms Deng Xiaoping†(41.2; August 2014) and “Imagination Sterilized: The Workings of the Global Spectacle†(40.3; August 2013). Her article titled, “Red Nostalgia: Commemorating Mao in Our Time,†is forthcoming in Literature Compass that Wiley Online Library publishes.




How to Cite

Hung, Hong Kong Baptist University, R. Y. (2014). What Melts in the “Melting Pot” of Hong Kong?. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 8(2), 57–87. https://doi.org/10.31436/asiatic.v8i2.489