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 jenniferlf21@gmail.com

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 <bch2131@columbia.edu>

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:

https://publishingperspectives.com/2018/02/gui-minhai-daughter-ipa-congress-freedom-to-publish/   (English)
https://www.svt.se/kultur/gui-minhais-dotter-om-tv-framtradandet-uppenbart-manusfort  (Swedish/English w. video) Continue reading

Update on Gui Minhai

Here is an update on the dramatic new turn for the worse for Gui Minhai, the HK-based published and writer kidnapped from Thailand in October 2015, then detained in China and forced (twice, in 2016) to make fake confessions on Chinese state TV, and detained (while his HK bookstore and publishing business was destroyed and silenced) until mid-October 2017 when the Chinese authorities said he was free.

Gui is a Swedish citizen only, and on Jan. 20, my country’s embassy had arranged for him to travel to our embassy and see a doctor for the grave signs of illness that he has developed while in Chinese detention. On the train there, in the presence of the two Swedish diplomats accompanying him on the trip, Gui was suddenly seized and hauled off by ten plainclothes men. It took China two weeks to acknowledge it was indeed China’s government (and not some random rogue gang) that had seized him again, despite their words. When, finally, China’s government acknowledged thru their own foreign ministry that it did this, they also issued threats against our country, in the manner typical of previous times China has intimidated other countries — such as it recently did to Norway and to others. Continue reading

China confirms arrest of Gui Minhai

Source: Al Jezeera (2/6/18)
China confirms arrest of bookseller Gui Minhai

China confirms arrest of bookseller Gui Minhai

Gui disappeared while on holiday in Thailand in October 2015 [Anthony Wallace/AFP]

An ailing Hong Kong-based bookseller was arrested by Chinese authorities last month for allegedly breaking the law, China’s foreign ministry said.

China confirmed Gui Minhai’s detention for the first time on Tuesday, after his daughter said Chinese police had arrested him in January while he was travelling to Beijing for medical help, accompanied by two Swedish diplomats.

“Gui Minhai broke Chinese law and has already been subjected to criminal coercive measures in accordance with the law by relevant Chinese authorities,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters. Continue reading

Agnes Chow has China worried

Source: The Guardian (2/3/18)
Enemy of the state? Agnes Chow, the 21-year-old activist who has China worried
Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigner who was banned from office says an entire generation of young people is being targeted
By Benjamin Haas in Hong Kong

Agnes Chow

If China has its way, Agnes Chow’s political career will be over before it begins.

The self-described “average schoolgirl” who transformed into a thorn in the side of the Chinese leadership was last week blocked from running for political office in Hong Kong because of her party’s pro-democracy manifesto.

The unprecedented move penalises mere affiliation with a political idea and was designed to prevent Chow and her Demosisto party colleagues from entering the Legislative Council. Continue reading