Freedom of expression under attack in HK

Posted by Jeff Wasserstrom <>
Source: Dissent (7/4/17)
Freedom of Expression Under Attack in Hong Kong
By Louisa Lim

“Enthusiastically Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong’s Return to the Motherland…” (courtesy Sampson Wong)

Late last week, as Hong Kong celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its return to Chinese sovereignty, pixels of white flickered on the slick glass façade of Hong Kong’s second-tallest skyscraper. The Chinese characters gliding up the building’s 108 stories bore a staunch Communist-style exhortation: “Enthusiastically Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong’s Return to the Motherland, Fervently Welcome President Xi Jinping’s Inspection of Hong Kong.” This greeting—coinciding with President Xi’s first visit to Hong Kong since taking power—is now raising fears about the freedom of artistic expression in Hong Kong, calling into question its future as an international arts hub. Continue reading

making fun of Xi Jinping in HK

For a look at some of the media memes making fun of Xi Jinping’s visit to HK, see the article below (too many images, screen shots, and videos to post in full here)–Kirk <>

Source: Quartz (6/30/17)
Hong Kong is relentless in its memes making fun of Chinese president Xi Jinping and his followers
By Nicole Kwok

Hong Kongers are known to have a good sense of humor. And with Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to Hong Kong for the 20th anniversary of the territory’s handover, locals have been laughing off the tense political environment. There’s been no shortage of memes surrounding Xi’s trip…

Growing hopelessness in HK

Source: SCMP (6/25/17)
Beijing cannot wish away the growing sense of hopelessness in Hong Kong
Alice Wu says rather than the big political rows, it is the day-to-day frictions with the mainland that lead many Hongkongers to feel a sense of alienation in their own hometown, and the central government must address this problem
By Alice Wu

Commercial buildings in the business district of Central in Hong Kong. Runaway home prices exacerbated by cross-border capital flight have made home ownership an increasingly unattainable dream for many Hongkongers. Photo: EPA

Calls for Hong Kong independence are a non-starter. But here we are being hammered by a seeming avalanche of talk on the subject by those who don’t want us to talk about it. This isn’t exactly how I imagined we would be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the handover.

Such tough talk is worrisome. It widens the already wide gulf of distrust between Beijing and Hong Kong. With emotions running high, it is time to call for pause and caution. Continue reading

Joint Declaration ‘no longer has any realistic meaning’

Source: SCMP (6/30/17)
Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong ‘no longer has any realistic meaning’, Chinese Foreign Ministry says
Ministry spokesman issues retort to foreign countries’ statements on the political condition of the city, as it marks 20 years since the handover
By Joyce Ng

Lu also said that what made Hong Kong a success ‘was not up to any outsider to comment on’. Photo: Kyodo

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has declared the Sino-British Joint Declaration, that laid the groundwork for Hong Kong’s handover, a “historical document that no longer has any realistic meaning”, after Britain and the United States spoke of the binding effect of the 1984 treaty on China and the city.

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang hit back at remarks from the two countries on Friday, hours after they issued statements on the political condition of the city, as it marks 20 years since that handover, from British rule to Chinese. Continue reading

All the president’s men

Source: SCMP (6/29/17)
All the president’s men – the key players at Xi Jinping’s side in Hong Kong
The handful of trusted officials include party big shots and close companions, such as the PLA’s top general, who are rarely seen during the leader’s trips
By Jun Mai

President Xi Jinping waits to meet Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying after arriving in the city on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

As President Xi Jinping landed in Hong Kong for the first time as the country’s top leader on Thursday, he and his wife were accompanied by a pool of officials in charge of Beijing’s policies for the city.

The handful of officials, most of them Xi’s trusted aides, include party big shots involved in top-level policymaking, government and foreign affairs. They include companions rarely seen in Xi’s domestic and overseas trips, such as the PLA’s top general, and those who run the nerve hubs of China’s legislature and consultation body that ensure the loyalty of social elites.

The offices involved cover all channels of command between Beijing and Hong Kong. So who are they and what do they do? Continue reading

HK youth identity survey

Source: China Scope (6/25/17)
Survey Results Reveal Hong Kong Youths Do Not Want to Be Identified as “Chinese” Citizens

According to an article that Radio Free Asia published, Hong Kong University released the results of a recent survey reporting that the percentage of Hong Kong youths who acknowledged their identity as “Chinese” was only 3.1 percent, the lowest number in history. At the same time, the percentage of those who identify themselves as “Hong Kongese” was 65 percent, 3 percent higher than in the previous survey. The article quoted an interview with a few residents in Hong Kong. They felt that the political milieu and the livelihood in Hong Kong have worsened since its return to the mainland 20 years ago and that Beijing has never kept its promises. One professor from Hong Kong University said that Beijing constantly interferes with Hong Kong policy. Meanwhile Hong Kong youths are not happy with the uncivilized behavior that the tourists from the mainland display while they shop in Hong Kong or tour in foreign countries. The Hong Kong government didn’t bother to understand the dissatisfaction from the Hong Kong youths whose wish to have Hong Kong be independent continues to rise but is being suppressed.

Hong Kong University has conducted the survey once every two years since 1997. The “Chinese Citizen Identity” result was growing in the first 10 years from 1997 to 2006 but dropped sharply starting in 2008 and fell below 10 percent in 2012, two years before the “Occupy Central” movement took place.

Source: Radio Free Asia, June 21, 2017

Our Seventeen review

Source: SCMP (6/20/17)
Film review: Our Seventeen – Angela Yuen makes impressive star turn in Macau youth drama
Playing a mean-spirited teen who channels her family problems into music and schoolyard bullying, Yuen’s uncannily natural performance alongside singer-songwriter Sean Pang shows she could be a star in the making
By Edmund Lee

From left: Kyle Li, Mary Ma, Angela Yuen, Sean Pang and King Wu in the film Our Seventeen (category IIB; Cantonese, Putonghua), directed by Emily Chan.

A group of troubled high-school students look to rise above their broken family backgrounds and pursue their music dreams in the diverting, if haphazardly scripted, Our Seventeen.

The second narrative film by Macau writer-director Emily Chan Nga-lei – and a full-length spin-off from her eponymous short film from 2014 – it shows a marked improvement over Chan’s first feature, Timing, also from 2014, which was screened at a Hong Kong “premiere” but never received a proper release in the city.

Continue reading

Fan Ho, poet with a camera

Source: SCMP (6/20/17)
How Fan Ho, Hong Kong’s poet with a camera, found his calling – in his own words
In one of his last interviews, Fan Ho, who died a year ago today, aged 84, recalls how he rediscovered his passion for photography – and some old negatives – to finally gain the recognition and respect he longed for

Cantonese is not dead

Source: Language Log (6/9/17)
Cantonese is not dead yet
Filed by

Not by a long shot, judging from several recent articles in the South China Morning Post:

American professor speaks up for Cantonese to preserve Hong Kong’s heritage: Robert Bauer from HKU is writing a Cantonese-English dictionary that will include colloquial terms, believing language represents cultures” (Heyling Chan, 5/21/17)

Hong Kong vloggers keeping Cantonese alive with money-spinning YouTube channels:  While many fear Cantonese may be in decline, for Hong Kong’s online stars it has opened a gateway to thousands of followers and lucrative careers” (Rachel Blundy, 6/10/17)

Use Cantonese as a tool to extend Hong Kong’s influence, academic urges:  Chinese University linguist says better teaching of the native language is the vital first step in raising the city’s profile in Beijing’s trade initiative” (Naomi Ng, 5/4/17)

In Vancouver’s ‘Cantosphere’, a sense of responsibility and an identity under siege:  Artists and academics in Vancouver are carving out a space to examine both the fate of Hong Kong and the diaspora identity” (Ian Young, 5/19/17)

All four articles evince a keen sense of the centrality of Cantonese language in maintaining the cultural identity of its speakers.  I urge anyone who is interested in Cantonese to read each of these articles to gain a better idea of the vital issues of language education and preservation that members of the Cantosphere are facing, wherever they are. Continue reading

Cha International Poetry Prize 2017

Cha International Poetry Prize 2017

To celebrate the tenth anniversary issue of Cha and to mark the twentieth anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover, we are hosting Cha International Poetry Prize 2017, in collaboration with PEN Hong Kong.

The competition is open to ALL poets. Thanks to several generous sponsors from the Asia-Pacific region, including the NINJA! Arts Grant, we are able to offer a total prize money of US$3201 (First Prize US$1501; Second Prize US$800; Third Prize US$400 and five Commended Prizes, each US$100). All eight winning poems will be published in the tenth anniversary issue of Cha, due out in late December 2017. As ever with Cha contests, there is no entry fee. Continue reading

HK police arrest nine more activists

Source: Straits Times (4/27/17)
Hong Kong police arrest nine more democracy activists

Hong Kong independence activists Baggio Leung (left) and Yau Wai-ching.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) – Nine democracy activists were arrested in Hong Kong on Thursday (April 27) over an anti-Beijing protest, according to campaign groups, in the latest swoop by police as protesters say they are being persecuted.

Concerns are growing that the semi-autonomous city’s freedom is under threat from Beijing, fuelling calls from some activists for greater autonomy or even a complete split from China. Continue reading

Politics infuses art in HK

Source: NYT (3/30/17)
As Hong Kong Ponders Its Future Under Beijing, Politics Infuses Its Art

“Defense and Resistance,” on display at the Asia Society in Hong Kong, shows photographs of the artist, South Ho, walling and then unwalling himself in with bricks marked “Made in Xianggang,” the word for Hong Kong in Mandarin, spoken on the mainland. Credit: Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — As 1,194 electors were casting ballots on Sunday for Hong Kong’s next leader, Sampson Wong was tagging Facebook videos that showed city residents making breakfast, riding trains and playing with cats.

The scenes were unremarkable, and that was the point: Mr. Wong and other members of the Add Oil Team, an artists’ collective, were broadcasting the videos of people engaged in activities that did not include voting as a critique of an unrepresentative political process. “No Election in Hong Kong Now,” the title of their Facebook Live stream said. Continue reading

Raise the Umbrellas preview

For those in the vicinity of New Haven, on Monday, there is a preview of Evan Chan’s new film Raise the Umbrellas–Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Photo courtesy of PH Yang Photography (

While the disturbing aftermath of the Umbrella Movement is still unfolding in Hong Kong two years later, there’ll be a special preview of Raise the Umbrellas (Hong Kong version) at Yale University :

Raise the Umbrellas: Special Preview with Director Evans Chan

Monday, April 3, 2017 – 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Auditorium, Henry R. Luce Hall
34 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511 Continue reading

Carrie Lam vows to unite HK

Source: SCMP (3/26/17)
Newly elected Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam vows to unite sharply divided city
Beijing’s preferred candidate promises more inclusive leadership and better ties between executive and legislature
By Joyce Ng, Tony Cheung, Jeffie Lam, Stuart Lau, Kimmy Chung

Chief Executive Election candidates John Tsang, Carrie Lam and Woo Kwok-hing stand on stage during the announcement of the results of the Hong Kong Chief Executive Election. Photo: David Wong

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was elected as Hong Kong’s first ­female leader on Sunday, promising to unite a divided city with a more inclusive style of governance and appealing for the chance to start a new chapter.

The former No 2 official, who secured 777 out of the 1,186 votes cast by the Election Committee tasked to pick the next chief executive, also vowed to find ways to improve relations between the executive and the legislature.

Continue reading

Jin Yong exhibition

Source: SCMP (3/3/17)
In pictures: Hong Kong novelist Jin Yong’s works find a home
SCMP Staff

One of the works of martial arts novelist Dr Louis Cha Leung-yunk displayed at the Jin Yong Gallery at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

An exhibition of the work of one of the greatest living martial arts novelists has found a home with the opening of the Jin Yong Gallery at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Continue reading