Indiescape HK and the Post-Handover Film World–cfp

Ex-position Feature Topic Call for Papers
(Guest Editor: Kenny Kwok Kwan Ng, Hong Kong Baptist University)
Publication Date: December 2019 (Issue No. 42)
Submission Deadline: July 1, 2019

“Independent cinema” in Hong Kong has gained much currency both in academia and in film production and reception circles since the 1997 handover. Despite the fact that the term itself is frequently invoked in critical discourse and film festival programming, the meanings and contours of independent cinema as it is practiced in Hong Kong remain a matter of debate, except for the general consensus that being “independent” in moviemaking confers a disposition of distancing from the mainstream film industry in terms of styles, genres, modes of production and exhibition, financing, or public reception. Independent filmmakers can be bona fide auteurs who have greater control over the subject matter and stylistic choices of their works compared with their mainstream counterparts. Still, creative autonomy is never absolute and always comes with a cost. Filmmakers have to play by the rules of the emerging habitus of independent cinema, while the dynamic and ambivalent exchanges between independent and mainstream cinema are constantly at play in Hong Kong when an independent filmmaker (or film) enters mainstream production and circulation. Continue reading

Cantonese Connection workshop

Cantonese Connection: Periodical Studies in the Age of Digitalization

Periodicals played a major role in modern Chinese history: from propagating revolutionary ideas to promoting popular culture; with digitalization the studies of this otherwise too massive and ephemeral kind of literature have become more accessible than ever. “Cantonese Connection”, therefore, is a workshop bringing together local and overseas scholars to discuss various periodicals in this context, with a specific focus on the Cantonese-speaking area, including Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau.

The workshop is delighted to have Prof. Poshek Fu to give a keynote speech on “Chinese Student Weekly, Asia Foundation, and Hong Kong’s Cultural Cold War”.

Date :    17th -18th May 2019 (Friday – Saturday)
Venue:  Lee Ping Yuen Chamber (D801), 8/F, Lee Quo Wei Academic Building (Block D),The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Time:    (Day 1) 09:30-17:45;  (Day 2) 09:30-12:55

Programme available at

Posted by: Nga Li Lam <>

Matteo Ricci The Musical

Source: SCMP (4/26/19)
Matteo Ricci: 16th-century Italian priest who tried, and failed, to convert Chinese to Catholicism is resurrected on stage
Matteo Ricci The Musical might not be the show Hong Kong wanted, but, according to those who brought it to the stage, it’s the one we needed. The priest was the first European to enter the Forbidden Palace in Beijing and is buried in the Chinese capital
By Fionnuala McHugh

Jonathan Wong performs in Matteo Ricci The Musical, on April 19. Photo: Matteo Ricci The Musical / Cheung Chi-wai

Jonathan Wong performs in Matteo Ricci The Musical, on April 19. Photo: Matteo Ricci The Musical / Cheung Chi-wai

On Palm Sunday, which this year fell on April 14, the first run-through of Matteo Ricci The Musical was held at Clarence Film Studio, in the depths of Shek Kong, in the New Territories. The follow­ing day, everything would shift to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, in Tsim Sha Tsui, in preparation for open­ing night on Holy Saturday. As every Christian knows, Palm Sunday marks the day Jesus entered Jerusalem, after 40 days in the desert, to cheering crowds. By Good Friday, these fans are enthusiastically calling for his crucifixion. Three days later, he’s risen from the dead. It’s the scene-setter for a week of dramatic reversals. Continue reading

Trumpian rhapsody

Source: Washington Post (4/6/19)
Trumpian rhapsody: Hong Kong opera takes on ping-pong, China and the long red tie
By Mary Hui

People pass the Sunbeam Theatre in Hong Kong, where “Trump on Show” will open on April 12. (Mary Hui for The Washington Post)

HONG KONG — Start with a performer playing President Trump. Then bring in a long-lost brother who was raised in China.

Throw in castmates portraying a ping-pong-loving Mao Zedong, a deal-seeking Kim Jong Un, Ivanka Trump and Mao’s power-hungry fourth wife.

They are singing. Opera. In Cantonese.

And, well, it’s complicated.

“Trump on Show” opens April 12 in Hong Kong with its creator — 64-year-old feng shui master, Li Kui-ming — offering something of a fever dream of politics, history and diplomacy framed around the current tensions between Washington and Beijing. Continue reading

HK battles Beijing as dreams for culture soar

Source: Taipei Times (4/3/19)
Hong Kong battles Beijing as dreams for culture soar

Hong Kong artist Kacey Wong plays the accordion inside a red mobile prison artwork called The Patriot, a performance art project protesting against the National Anthem Law, at his studio in Hong Kong.Wong’s work is a protest in a city struggling to square its vast cultural ambitions with an increasingly assertive Beijing. Photo: AFP

At a sunny Hong Kong art studio Kacey Wong gazes out through the bars of a cage, painted communist red — his work a protest in a city struggling to square its vast cultural ambitions with an increasingly assertive Beijing.

Better known for its high-end commercial galleries — and glamorous fairs like last month’s Art Basel — Hong Kong is striving to turn itself into a cultural heavyweight through a spate of new multimillion-dollar public art spaces.

But local artists warn Beijing’s growing influence is creating a climate of fear that is stifling creativity and threatens the nascent grassroots art scene Hong Kong says it wants to enrich. Continue reading

Hong Kong Studies–cfp

HONG KONG STUDIES—Issue 5 (Spring 2020) Call for Papers—Gender and Sexuality on Hong Kong Screens

The first bilingual and interdisciplinary academic journal on Hong Kong, Hong Kong Studies (Chinese University Press), is now accepting articles for a special issue, Gender and Sexuality on Hong Kong Screens, curated with Professor Gina Marchetti (HKU) and scheduled for publication in Spring 2020.

Hong Kong cinema opens up a “pivotal place as a public platform for the consideration of Chinese identity, sexual orientation, and gender roles in the digital age,” write the editors of Hong Kong Screenscapes (HKU Press, 2011). Taking this as a point of departure and broadening the scope to discussions of different genders and sexualities, this issue solicits research articles that explore the following topics and more in Hong Kong films: the representation of genders and sexual identities (e.g. gender equality, gender activism, women’s rights, masculinity, the LGBTQIA+ community, non-binary and trans representations), intersectionality between gender and other critical concepts, transnational and multilingual comparisons with other contexts in terms of gender and sexuality, and gender politics in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. Continue reading

Mobility as Method

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of an essay by Tong King Lee entitled “Mobility as Method: Distributed Literatures and Semiotic Repertoires” as part of our online series. Too long to post here in its entirety, find below a snippet from the beginning of the essay. The whole essay can be found at:

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Mobility as Method:
Distributed Literatures and Semiotic Repertoires

By Tong King Lee

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March 2019)

Posters of Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love and 2046.

In this essay, I propose mobility as a method for thinking literature as distributed repertoires, using Hong Kong literature as an illustrative case. In speaking of literary mobility, we first need to come to terms with its nominal counterpoint: the situatedness and place-based nature of writing; in the context of Hong Kong, this is encapsulated by the notion of Sinophone Hong Kong literature (Shih 2008). My argument is that the mobile and the situated are not diametrically opposed; rather, they complement each other within a creative dynamic that enables the local and the global to reciprocally articulate each other in diverse semiotic constellations.

The mobility turn in the social sciences, exemplified by the work of John Urry (2007) and Zygmunt Bauman (2000), has led to lines of inquiry that challenge stable structures and linear patterns, privileging instead the themes of movement and fluidity. More recently, Engseng Ho (2017) proposed the idea of mobile societies, suggesting that premodern Asia be conceptualized as Inter-Asia, a transregional axis constituted by networks of connections and circulations among peoples, goods, and ideas. Here mobility as method represents a theoretical attempt to dislodge the isomorphism between state and society, where the former is a territorialized, bounded political entity and the latter a dispersed concept transcending the perimeters of the polity.

Now what if, instead of mobile societies, we conceive of mobile literatures, defined as spectra of creative semiotic resources moving dynamically between and beyond languages, cultures, and bounded territories? What connections and circulations might emerge from such a distributed view of literature? What are the implications of disaggregating literature from society and dispersing its resources to a global scale, and then reaggregating them back into society, in what Engseng Ho (2017) calls an “outside-in” analysis? [click here to read the whole essay]

HK Cinema through a Global Lens MOOC


Registration is now open for the fifth offering of Hong Kong Cinema through a Global Lens, the first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Hong Kong cinema to be produced anywhere in the world.  The online course starts on January 22, 2019. Enjoy the conversation on Hong Kong cinema with 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 TELI (Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative).

The edX platform hosts Hong Kong Cinema through a Global Lens, which is free of charge on the Internet. Lively and student-centered, this MOOC is appropriate for secondary, tertiary, and lifelong learners from all corners of the globe, who have a good command of the English language. Teachers are welcome and encouraged to adapt various modules and materials for their own classroom or e-learning needs. 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. Continue reading

Chthonic live streams to HK after visa rejection

Source: Focus Taiwan (12/26/18)
Taiwan band Chthonic live streams to HK after visa rejection
By William Yen

Image taken from

Taipei, Dec. 26 (CNA) A Taiwanese heavy metal band performed for their fans in Hong Kong by live video streaming a performance Tuesday, after their frontman, a pro-Taiwan independence lawmaker, was denied a work visa to perform in the special administrative region.

Freddy Lim (林昶佐), a legislator from Taiwan’s New Power Party and his band Chthonic jammed over Facebook Live with Canto-pop star Denise Ho on the second to last day of a music festival the band was invited to perform at. Continue reading

latest on Gui Minhai

My two latest publications on the case of the kidnapped Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai:

“Calling the deer a horse: The CCP’s ham-fisted drive to control discourse in Sweden.” Interview with Jichang Lulu, Sinopsis: China in Context and Perspective [Prague, The Czech Republic], 28 november 2018.

Also, in Swedish, “We have to get better at seeing thru the Chinese propaganda machine”):

“Vi måste bli bättre på att genomskåda den kinesiska propagandamaskinen.” Journalisten, 27 november 2018.

Both publications, the interview and the article, discuss the latest developments in the case of Gui Minhai, as well as the Chinese embassy in Sweden campaign to obscure the issue of our kidnapped citizen by way of disinformation, smearing, etc., and how Chinese state propaganda works — so that we can successfully resist it.

Comments always welcome.

Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Ma Jian at the HK literary festival

Source: NYT (11/10/)
Ma Jian, Exiled Chinese Novelist, Hails Appearance as Victory for Rights
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
By Mike Ives

Ma Jian, center, said the totalitarian society George Orwell predicted in “1984” had been “completely and totally” realized in China.CreditCreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — An exiled Chinese novelist spoke at a literary festival in Hong Kong on Saturday, two days after his appearance had been briefly canceled in a move that was widely seen as the latest erosion of freedoms in the semiautonomous city.

The writer, Ma Jian, whose appearances at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival were reinstated at the last minute, said the reversal “proves the failure” of self-censorship.

Mr. Ma, a British citizen who lives in exile in London, said on Saturday that a robust literary culture helps to “safeguard the bottom line of our civilization.” Continue reading

Court jails prosecutors over death in custody

Source: SCMP (10/24/18)
China jails former prosecutors over tortured Hong Kong businessman Stephen Lau’s death in custody
Tianjin court hands down tough sentences of up to 15 years for intentional assault, extorting confession by torture and dereliction of duty. Reason for Hong Kong hotel owner’s interrogation still a mystery
By Guo RuiChoi Chi-yuk

Hong Kong businessman Stephen Lau Hei-wing shown in June 2009, leaving the High Court after testifying. A Chinese court has jailed nine former prosecutors over his death in custody last year. Photo: KY Cheng

A Chinese court has jailed nine former prosecutors for up to 15 years over the case of Hong Kong businessman and hotel owner Stephen Lau Hei-wing, who was tortured to death in custody last year.

The Tianjin No 1 Intermediate People’s Court handed down the sentences on Tuesday, giving the nine defendants, most of them from Yanbian prefecture in Jilin province, less than two weeks to appeal the decision.

According to a copy of the verdict seen by the South China Morning Post, lead interrogator Xu Xuezhe was jailed for 15 years and another defendant, Zhou Qingjun, for 11 years for intentional assault. Six others were sentenced to between 15 months and three years behind bars for extorting confession by torture. The ninth defendant, head of the investigation team Zhao Bozhong, was sentenced to four years for dereliction of duty. Continue reading

HK, Zhuhai, Macao bridge opens

Source: NYT (10/23/18)
China Opens Giant Sea Bridge Linking Hong Kong, Macau and Mainland
By Austin Ramzy

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge on Monday. The project includes a four-mile tunnel west of Hong Kong’s airport.CreditCreditKin Cheung/Associated Press

HONG KONG — China officially opened the world’s longest sea bridge on Tuesday after China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and local officials inaugurated the 34-mile structure, which crosses the Pearl River Delta to link Hong Kong with Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.

The project, which includes sections of bridge and artificial islands linked by a four-mile tunnel west of Hong Kong’s airport, went billions of dollars over budget and was delayed by two years. Chinese officials expect the bridge to significantly cut driving time between the two sides of the Pearl River, helping to achieve their vision of a Greater Bay Area, as China calls the effort to knit the region’s cities more closely. Continue reading

HK education chief waffles on language policy

Source: SCMP (10/9/18)
Hong Kong education chief says he doesn’t want to force schools to teach Mandarin over Cantonese, as critics claim Beijing is trying to control what city’s children learn
Kevin Yeung forced to clarify earlier remarks as backlash against China’s influence over what is taught in city grows
By Kimmy Chung

Kevin Yeung, the Secretary for Eduction, has had to clarify remarks he made suggesting Mandarin should be taught in schools over Cantonese. Photo: Nora Tam 

Hong Kong’s education chief has been forced to clarify twice in two days that he had no intention of forcing schools to teach Mandarin, in what critics say reflected the sensitivity surrounding language in the city.

Kevin Yeung Yun-hung was strongly criticised on Sunday after he suggested experts look into whether Mandarin, which is the official language in mainland China, should be taught instead of Cantonese, which is the dialect spoken in Hong Kong.

Yeung came under fire when he noted, “the future development of Chinese language learning across the globe will rely mainly on Mandarin”. Continue reading

New train blurs line btw China and HK

Source: The Guardian (10/4/18)
‘This is part of the plan’: new train blurs line between China and Hong Kong
The $11bn high-speed Vibrant Express connects Hong Kong with mainland China in 20 minutes for the first time – and the city’s residents are nervous
By Lily Kuo

The Hong Kong and China flags outside the West Kowloon station in Hong Kong.

‘They want us to go to China and work’ … The Hong Kong and China flags outside the newly built West Kowloon station in Hong Kong. Photograph: Jerome Favre/EPA

Inside the newly built West Kowloon terminus, it’s hard to know where Hong Kong stops and China begins.

A restaurant on one floor is technically on Hong Kong soil. Just below it, a duty-free shopping area belongs to neither government. Meanwhile, the VIP lounge one level down from that is Chinese territory.

In the open space of this cavernous train station, you can stand on Hong Kong territory (the ticketing floor) and look down into Chinese territory (the departure hall). Outside the station, the Chinese and Hong Kong flags fly side by side – with the red-and-white Hong Kong flag set slightly lower. Continue reading