HK bans pro-independence party

Source: The Guardian (9/23/18)
Hong Kong bans pro-independence party as China tightens grip
Hong Kong National Party banned in the interests of ‘national safety’
Bu Lily Kuo

Pro-democracy activists march against a proposal to ban the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party in July

Pro-democracy activists march against a proposal to ban the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party in July Photograph: Jérôme Favre/EPA

In an unprecedented move, Hong Kong has banned a pro-independence political party, causing outcry among critics who see the measure as another sign of the China’s tightening grip over the city.

On Monday, Hong Kong’s security bureau announced it had upheld a police request to ban the Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), a well-known but small group that promotes the city’s independence from China.

“I hereby order that the operation or continued operation of the Hong Kong National Party in Hong Kong to be prohibited,” a notice from the security minister said on a government website. Continue reading

HK cinema MOOC

The “rerun” of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Hong Kong cinema will begin on 11 September 2018 (Tuesday). This is a great opportunity for you to understand Hong Kong cinema’s uniqueness and its continuing impact in transforming other national cinemas.

MOOC description

This pioneering online experience is under the direction of internationally-recognized film studies scholars Professor Gina Marchetti and Dr. Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park from the HKU Department of Comparative Literature and Dr. Stacilee Ford from the HKU Department of History and American Studies Program with the creative assistance of HKU Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI).

The course explores globalization through Hong Kong cinema featuring crisp analyses of the actors and filmmakers whose lives and films connect the local Hong Kong scene to global histories, events, and trends. Throughout the six-week course, students will encounter stars including Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Maggie Cheung as well as award-winning directors such as John Woo, Mabel Cheung, Andrew Lau, and Wong Kar Wai. Each week a new film showcases talents, themes, and local-global connections. Continue reading

HK moves to crush pro-independence party

Source: SupChina (7/17/18)
Hong Kong moves to crush pro-independence party
By Lucas Niewenhuis

It has been little more than two years since the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party was founded. According to reports today, the Hong Kong government seems intent on making sure it doesn’t live to see two and a half.

  • This morning, police officers visited the home of Andy Chan Ho-tin 陳浩天, the leader of the party, and gave him documents that indicated the government wanted the party “banned from operating using the Societies Ordinance on the grounds of national and public security,” the Hong Kong Free Press reports.
  • The party was then given a 21-day ultimatum by Hong Kong’s security secretary, John Lee, who challenged the party “to justify why it should not be banned,” the Hong Kong Free Press says.
  • Hong Kong’s “Societies Ordinance,” specifically section 8(1)(a), allows the government to break up any group of one or more if it believes that it is “necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
  • This is the first time since 1997 — the year Beijing officially gained sovereignty over Hong Kong — that section 8(1)(a) of the Societies Ordinance has been applied. Pro-democracy camp convener lawmaker Charles Mok noted that the law was intended to crack down on organized crime Triads, and that it was “rather ridiculous” to use it to censor political speech.
  • If the party is banned, a fine of HK$50,000 ($6,370) and two years in prison will be applied to any person who attends meetings of the party or donates money to it.
  • Chan had tried to register the political party in March 2016 when it was founded, but had been rejected by the Companies Registry for “political reasons.” Chan was later himself barred from standing for election in the city, after he refused to renounce his pro-independence position.

Continue reading

Feature on HK lit in Words Without Borders

List members may be interested in a feature on fantastic Hong Kong literature that appears in the latest issue of Words Without Borders:

The full issue can be found here:

Jennifer Feeley

Tiananmen vigil in HK

Source: SCMP (6/4/18)
Tiananmen anniversary vigil in Hong Kong: event organiser Albert Ho gives eulogy declaring ‘ruthless regime will not last forever’
‘The wounds have not healed, the blood has not dried … and justice has not been upheld,’ says chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China
By Tony Cheung Kimmy Chung

All six soccer pitches at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay have been filled by attendees at the June 4 candlelight vigil. Photo: Winson Wong

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Victoria Park in Hong Kong to mark the 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown with organisers of an annual candlelight vigil vowing not to stop calling for an end to one-party rule in mainland China.

The vigil is the only large-scale public gathering in China to remember the crackdown on June 4, 1989, that brought an abrupt end to a pro-democracy movement in the heart of Beijing. Many activists, including students and civilians, died. Though the death toll may never be known, hundreds, maybe more than 1,000, were killed.

While large crowds are still drawn to the event, attendance has dwindled in recent years. Organisers are estimating a turnout of 100,000 to 150,000 this time, despite a boycott by university student unions for the fourth year in a row. Follow the latest below: Continue reading

Crackdown on film props in HK

Source: NYT (6/1/18)
A Crackdown on Film Props Angers Hong Kong’s Cinephiles
By Mike Ives and Tiffany May

The cast and crew of “Trivisa” at the Hong Kong Film Awards last year. On Thursday, two people involved in the film’s production were given suspended sentences for possession of counterfeit money — bills the defendants said were merely props.CreditAnthony Wallace/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

HONG KONG — Counterfeit money is hidden. Police uncover the stash. Justice is served.

It may sound like a film noir plot, but the fake bills had been used as props in an award-winning crime thriller filmed in Hong Kong. And the two suspects — who received suspended four-month sentences on Thursday — were not hardened criminal counterfeiters but members of a film production crew.

The question, local cinephiles say, is why the police even bothered to seek charges.

They say the case illustrates how onerous rules are needlessly hampering a local industry whose golden age of Bruce Lee kung fu films and Wong Kar-wai dramas seems long past, and which is now struggling to competeagainst rising competition from studios in South Korea and mainland China. Continue reading

Bust of Liu Xiaobo erected in HK

Source: SCMP (5/31/18)
Bust of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo erected outside Hong Kong’s Times Square in bid to build support for June 4 vigil
Support for annual event commemorating Tiananmen Square crackdown has been dwindling in the city in recent years amid a rise in anti-mainland sentiments
Peace Chiu

The bust of Liu Xiaobo is unveiled in Causeway Bay as pan-democrats collect signatures to call for the release of his wife. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

In a move to reawaken Hongkongers’ waning support for the upcoming 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen Crackdown, a group of activists erected a bust of the late Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese pro-democracy icon, at a shopping district popular among mainlanders on Thursday.

On June 4 every year since 1990, a candlelight vigil is held in the city’s Victoria Park to mark the anniversary of the bloody anti-government crackdown in 1989 in Beijing, which followed large-scale street protests and weeks-long sit-ins and hunger strikes in Tiananmen Square in a bid for greater freedom. Continue reading

Johnnie To, godfather of gangster films

Source: Taipei Times (5/19/18)
Johnnie To, still the godfather of gangster films
As Hong Kong’s once-thriving film industry sees a continual decline in production, Johnnie To represents a rare breed of filmmaker with his consistent and diversified output of films
By Paige Lim  /  Contributing reporter in Udine, Italy

Johnnie To at last month’s Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy, where a restored version of his 2004 judo drama, Throw Down, premiered. Photo courtesy of the Far East Film Festival

The name Johnnie To (杜琪峯) is ubiquitous in Hong Kong cinema, but the prolific director and producer claims he might have never ended up making films, if it wasn’t for a stroke of luck 45 years ago.

As a then broke and unemployed 17-year-old, To joined Hong Kong’s leading television station TVB (Television Broadcasts Limited) on a whim, with no clue that it would eventually lead him to his true calling.

“I really just needed a job and some money. It wasn’t my choice, but I happened to be assigned to the drama department,” he says. “If I had been sent to the engineering department, I might have ultimately become an engineer.” Continue reading

HK says no to Mandarin

Source: SCMP (5/3/18)
Should Mandarin replace Cantonese in Hong Kong? No, says Carrie Lam
Chief Executive Carrie Lam, education secretary and mainland linguist all dismiss idea that Mandarin will be used to teach Chinese in city’s schools
By Su Xinqi/Sum Lok-kei

The debate over whether Cantonese was Hongkongers’ mother tongue has caused waves in the education sector. File photo

Hong Kong’s leader on Thursday dismissed a controversy over the use of Mandarin in public schools and whether Cantonese could be considered the city’s mother tongue as a “non-issue”, telling legislators her administration had no plan to change its policy on the language used to teach.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said two issues had caused waves in the education sector – the debate over whether Cantonese was Hongkongers’ mother tongue, and whether liberal studies should continue to be part of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exam. Continue reading

Rewriting the history of HK

Source: SCMP (5/1/18)
Government is rewriting the history of Hong Kong, one inconvenient phrase at a time
‘Handover of sovereignty’ no longer an acceptable way to refer to the events of 1997, according to government department
By Alvin Lum

The history surrounding the handover of Hong Kong to China is changing. Photo: AFP

After the proposed removal of the words “taking back” from school textbooks to describe the return of the city to China in 1997, the Post has learned that the official protocol office has changed its website to erase any mention of a “handover of sovereignty”.

The Protocol Division, which is responsible for receiving foreign dignitaries and consuls general, was found to have made the changes after the Post filed an inquiry about the guidelines on terms used by the government to describe the handover from Britain. Continue reading

Taiwan, Asia’s bastion of free speech

Source: NYT (3/14/18)
Asia’s Bastion of Free Speech? Move Aside, Hong Kong, It’s Taiwan Now.
查看简体中文版  | 查看繁體中文版

A view of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, which has emerged as one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies, drawing the political dissidents and rights groups that once naturally gravitated to Hong Kong. CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

TAIPEI, Taiwan — For decades under British rule and after its handover to China, Hong Kong was a bastion of free speech in the Chinese-speaking world. International media and rights groups established their headquarters there, and it served as a haven for political fugitives, from Tiananmen student leaders to Edward Snowden.

In recent years, however, as Beijing has tightened its grip on the former colony, Hong Kong has been increasingly supplanted by Taiwan, a self-governing island that has emerged as one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies. Taiwan now draws the sorts of dissidents, rights groups and events that once naturally gravitated to Hong Kong. Continue reading

Orientalism Forty Years on–cfp

HONG KONG STUDIES—Issue 3 (Spring 2019) Call for Papers—Special Section on Orientalism Forty Years on; and General Research Papers

The first bilingual and interdisciplinary academic journal on Hong Kong, Hong Kong Studies (Chinese University Press), is now accepting articles for Issue 3 (scheduled for publication in Spring 2019), which will comprise both general research articles on Hong Kong and a special section on Edward Said’s Orientalism. Continue reading

SCMP’s on a soft power mission

Source: NYT (3/31/18)
A Hong Kong Newspaper on a Mission to Promote China’s Soft Power
查看简体中文版  | 查看繁體中文版

The South China Morning Post’s headquarters in Hong Kong. Scholars and activists worry that The Post is softening its critical stance to please Beijing. CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — On a recent afternoon, the staff of The South China Morning Post, a 114-year-old newspaper, gathered around roast suckling pig in their lavish new headquarters in Hong Kong to celebrate a remarkable turnaround.

Readership has been surging. The Post has launched new digital products and added dozens of journalists. After more than a decade of decline and editorial chaos, the newsroom now buzzes like a tech start-up, with table tennis and an in-house pub serving free craft beer. Continue reading

Oral history archive of Sunflower Movement

Hi all, I recently released an online, open-source oral history archive of the 2014 Sunflower Movement in Taiwan, compiling interviews with participants at all levels of the movement.

The overall archive is over 300,000 words. The website also contains a detailed day-by-day timeline of the movement, an interactive map of the occupation site, translations of key documents, a dictionary of terms that come up frequently in Taiwanese activist discourse, and other features.

I hope it may be of interest to members.

Brian Hioe <>

update on Gui Minhai

Update on the Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, imprisoned in China since October 2015:

The good news is that his daughter Angela accepted the International Publishing Assn. Voltaire prize, for freedom of publishing, for her father currently imprisoned in China. The prize was issued in Delhi. See:   (English)  (Swedish/English w. video) Continue reading