The Peony Pavilion in HK

Experience the entire kun opera classic The Peony Pavilion the way author Tang Xianzu originally intended. After years of planning, the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe is presenting the Hong Kong debut of the faithfully restored, complete 55-scene saga at the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Structured into three parts and performed over two days, this jewel of the kun opera genre reveals renewed perspectives into the wider social landscape of the Song dynasty, transforming the familiar love story into an unforgettable tale of oppression and emancipation.

A Rotating Poetic World

Explore the ethereal world of The Peony Pavilion through a rotating set design that seamlessly transports the audience from one scene to the next. This unique design also heightens the dreamy landscape of the production, filled with innovative visual effects.

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Happy Together script

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of “Happy Together 春光乍洩 Script: Cantonese Transcription with English Translation,” by Sabrina Yu, Nicholas Kaldis, Kin Wing Kevin Chan, and Cecilia Liao. A teaser appears below. Click here for the full transcription/translation. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis for sharing this work with the MCLC community. Thomas Moran offered important editorial suggestions.


Kirk Denton, MCLC

Happy Together 春光乍洩 Script:
Cantonese Transcription with English Translation

Directed by Wong Kar-wai 王家衛

Translated by: Sabrina Yu, Nicholas Kaldis, Kin Wing Kevin Chan, and Cecilia Liao
With assistance from: Ashley Yingxue Liu, Ana Ros Matturo, Gerardo Pignatiello[1]

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February 2024)

Lai Yiu-fai Passport.

Ho Po-wing stares at Iguazú Falls lamp.

 Ho Po Wing: Lai Yiu Fai, let’s start over.
何寶榮: 黎耀輝, 不如我哋由頭再嚟過。

Lai and Ho making love.

Lai Yiu Fai: “Let’s start over,” this phrase is Ho Po Wing’s mantra. I admit that these lines are very lethal. We’ve been together a long time, with the occasional break up, but I don’t know why, whenever that phrase is uttered it’s always brought us back together. Because we wanted to start over, we left Hong Kong. Two people with no destination ended up in Argentina.
黎耀輝: “不如由頭嚟過,” 呢句說話係何寶榮嘅口頭禪。我𠄘認呢句說話對我來講好有殺傷力。我哋喺埋一齊已經好耐。中間亦都有分開過,但係唔知點解次次講呢句說話我都同佢喺返埋一齊。因為想由頭嚟過,離開香港。兩個人行下行下咁就嚟到阿根廷。

Lai Yiu Fai: Where is Iguazú?
黎耀輝:Dónde es Iguazú?

Lai Yiu Fai: You said you knew how to read maps, we went in the wrong direction!
黎耀輝: 你又話識睇地圖,行錯路呀![READ THE FULL TEXT HERE]

Hong Kong Crime Films

I am pleased to announce the publication of my book Hong Kong Crime Films: Criminal Realism, Censorship and Society, 1947-1986 (Edinburgh University Press, 2023).


Hong Kong Crime Films is the first book detailing the post-war history of the genre before the release of John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow (1986), the film that put Hong Kong action-crime on the global map. Focusing on what it calls the mode of ‘criminal realism’ in the crime film, the book shows how depictions of Hong Kong’s social reality (including crime) were for decades anxiously policed by colonial censors, and how crime films tended (and still tend) to confound and transgress critical definitions of realism.

Drawing on extensive archival research, Hong Kong Crime Films covers several neglected topics in the study of Hong Kong cinema, such as the evolving generic landscape of the crime film prior to the 1980s, the influence of colonial film censorship on the genre, and the prominence and contestation of “realism” in the local history of the crime film.


Introduction: Criminal Realism

Part I: The Generic Landscape of the Post-War Hong Kong Crime Film, 1947-1969

  1. Gangsters and Unofficial Justice Fighters: Realist Lunlipian versus Action-Adventure Films
  2. Detectives and Suspense Thrillers: Remaking Hitchcock in Hong Kong

Intermezzo: Censorship of Cinematic Crime and Violence in Colonial Hong Kong

Part II: The Modern Hong Kong Crime Film, Criminal Realism and Hong Kong Identity, 1969-1986

  1. A New Form of Criminal Realism
  2. Crime Films and Hong Kong Identity
  3. The New Wave, Critical Discourse and Deepening Localisation

Afterword: The Uncertain Present and Future of Criminal Realism in Hong Kong

The book can be ordered at Use the promo code NEW30 for a 30% discount.

Posted by: Kristof Van den Troost

Rocky road for HK academics

Source: Hong Kong Free Press (1/20/24)
Opinion: Rocky road for those Hong Kong academics who are out of tune with the times
“It is difficult to feel optimistic about the future of Hong Kong universities generally if they are to be the playthings of political appointees who are unwilling or unable to respect the limits of their powers and rights,” writes Tim Hamlett.

An amusing coincidence last week. A kind friend sent me an interesting op ed piece from the China Daily about recent events at Harvard University, where the president recently resigned under pressure from major donors.

Students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. File photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. File photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

The writer of this piece mentioned, in passing, how lucky we were that such a thing could not happen in Hong Kong, because our universities enjoyed autonomy and were immune to interference from the government.

I proceeded to breakfast and the morning paper, which announced that the Vice Chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong had resigned a few days into what was supposed to be a three-year contract.

The resigning V.C., Rocky Tuan, made all the usual polite noises: honour to serve… time is ripe… grateful to all concerned for their support. The chairman of the university council also made the usual polite noises: university is grateful … outstanding leadership, etc, etc, etc.

And behind all this, as the local media reported with varying degrees of candour, was a four-year campaign by the pro-government camp to get rid of Prof Tuan, who had, in 2019, not found the safe course for university leaders in a time of crisis, which was to hide in the office and say nothing. Continue reading

Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies awards 2023-24

The 26th Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2023–2024)


Stephen C. Soong (1919–1996) was a prolific writer and translator as well as an active figure in the promotion of translation education and research. To commemorate his contributions in this field, the Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards were set up in 1997 by the Research Centre for Translation, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, with a donation from the Soong family. They give recognition to academics who have made contributions to original research in Chinese Translation Studies, particularly in the use of first-hand materials for historical and cultural investigations.

Entry and Nomination

RCT invites Chinese scholars or research students in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan or overseas regions to participate in the 26th Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2023–2024). General regulations are as follows:

  • All Chinese scholars or research students affiliated to higher education/research institutes in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan or overseas regions are eligible to apply.
  • Submitted articles must be written in either Chinese or English and published in a refereed journal within the calendar year 2023. Each candidate can enter up to two articles for the Awards. The publication date, title and volume/number of the journal in which the article(s) appeared must be provided.
  • Up to three articles are selected as winners each year. A certificate and a cheque of HK$3,000 will be awarded to each winning entry.
  • The adjudication committee, which consists of renowned scholars in Translation Studies from Greater China, will meet in June 2024. The results will be announced in July 2024 and winners will be notified individually.
  • Articles submitted will not be returned to the candidates.

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HK Studies Research School 2024

2024 Hong Kong Studies Research School (Targets: Current PhD Students)

Established in July 2015, The Academy of Hong Kong Studies (AHKS) of The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) is the first academy dedicated to fostering Hong Kong studies within local tertiary institutions.

To encourage young scholars to conduct research on Hong Kong-related topics, the AHKS is organizing the “2024 Hong Kong Studies Research School”. The initiative is a FREE and intensive training program targeting current PhD students with opportunities provided to participants to present their papers at the Hong Kong Studies Annual Conference. Detailed programme information and application forms are available at the AHKS website:

The application deadline is 2 February.

Best regards,

The Academy of Hong Kong Studies
The Education University of Hong Kong

Agnes Chow sources

There’s been a stream of reports and discussions after Agnes Chow gave interviews to Japanese media in Japanese and in English. Here’s the Japanese interview.

Part 2 in Japanese, free with registration.

See here for the English interview (NHK).

In the stream of news about the drama of the last few days, this article in the Diplomat nicely sums up the significance of Hong Kong police’s disgusting treatment of Agnes Chow. This piece includes a photo by Agnes Chow of the pitiful exhibit she was forced to see in Shenzhen.

The Collective HK in its podcast invented the term of “being vacationed” (被旅行):

In addition to the BBC News report posted here a few days ago, these articles are also good:

I’m Concerned about My Personal Safety” (The Guardian) Continue reading

Agnes Chow says HK is a ‘place of fear’

The momentous news of Agnes Chow’s escape to Canada and her regaining of freedom of speech (see below) comes at the same time as her colleague, Tsang Chi-kin, famous for escaping death by police bullet in Hong Kong, has been put up for a grotesque TV confession arranged by HK police. A place of fear indeed. —Magnus Fiskesjö,

Source: BBC News (12/7/23)
Agnes Chow: Fugitive activist says Hong Kong is now a ‘place of fear’
By Kelly Ng, BBC News, Singapore

Hong Kong is now a “place full of fear” for pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow, who says she has no plans to go home. Getty Images.

Hong Kong is now a “place full of fear”, pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow, who recently jumped bail, said. Ms Chow was under investigation for “collusion with foreign forces”, but had been allowed to study in Canada.

The 27-year-old is now a fugitive in Toronto. She told the BBC that she does not intend to return home.

Hong Kong authorities say that they will “spare no effort” in pursuing her for the rest of her life if she does not turn herself in.

A controversial national security law, which gives Chinese authorities expansive powers over political and civic activity in Hong Kong, has been widely used against activists like Ms Chow.

Ms Chow ran Hong Kong pro-democracy group Demosisto with fellow activists Nathan Law and Joshua Wong and was one of the leaders of large-scale anti-government protests held in 2012, 2014 and 2019. Continue reading

HK activist flees to Canada

Source: NYT (12/4/23)
Agnes Chow, a Hong Kong Activist, Fled to Canada and Isn’t Likely to Return
Ms. Chow said she had to make a “patriotic” visit to the mainland to get her passport back. The Hong Kong police condemned her intention to “openly jump bail.”
By Tiffany May, Reporting from Hong Kong

A woman wearing a medical mask and glasses is seen in the back seat of a police vehicle.

Agnes Chow, a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, being arrested by police at her home in Tai Po, Hong Kong, in August 2020. Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Agnes Chow, a prominent pro-democracy activist in Hong Kong who was arrested as part of a sweeping crackdown, said over the weekend that she had fled to Canada and planned to skip bail, in a bold challenge to the authorities.

Ms. Chow had been arrested in 2020, along with several other dissidents, including the newspaper mogul Jimmy Lai, after Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong to curb dissent. The authorities were investigating Ms. Chow on suspicion of collusion with external elements, a vaguely defined political crime that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. She was later released on bail.

Ms. Chow wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday that she had traveled to Canada in September to study at a university. She said she had decided not to return to Hong Kong in December to report to the police, as the authorities had requested. “Perhaps I will never go back again in my lifetime,” she wrote.

Hong Kong’s national security police condemned her expressed intention to “jump bail” and urged her to “immediately turn back.” In a statement on Monday, the Hong Kong government said that it would “spare no effort” in bringing Ms. Chow to justice and warned that she could not “evade legal liabilities by absconding.”

In Beijing, a foreign ministry spokesman who was asked about Ms. Chow’s statement said that no one was above the law and that illegal acts would be punished. Continue reading

Hong Kong Inside Out–cfp

Call for Papers: Hong Kong Inside Out – Hong Kong Studies Postgraduate Conference 2024

*All dates and times are in Hong Kong Standard Time if not specifically mentioned (GMT+8)
Conference dates: 26-27 April 2024 (Friday–Saturday)
Format: Online
Languages: English, Cantonese, and Mandarin
Eligibility: Students who are currently enrolled in master’s or doctoral programmes at the time of conference
Deadline for abstracts: 15 December 2023 (Friday)
Paper due: 1 April 2024 (Monday)
Keynote speaker: Dr John D. Wong (Associate Professor, Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences & School of Modern Languages and Cultures, HKU)

Hong Kong Studies has emerged from being a fledgling field primarily centred in the city of Hong Kong itself into a sprawling network of researchers, centres, postgraduates, and programmes across continents. At the same time, growing interest in Hong Kong and its historical and contemporary dilemmas has proliferated across a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. While the rapid growth of the field has brought considerable resources, vitality, and urgency to scholarly research and discussions about Hong Kong, it has also come at the cost of fundamental conversations about how to define the field itself. What is gained and what is lost when we study Hong Kong while situated within the city itself, or while working from far away? Who has belonged in the study of Hong Kong, and who has been excluded? How do the key terms and concepts by which various disciplines approach Hong Kong past and present differ from each other, and how might these be reconciled? In short, how might we understand or even reconceptualise the subject of our collective inquiry—Hong Kong—inside out? Continue reading

UHK clamps down on ‘disreputable’ behaviour

Source: SCMP (6/29/23)
University of Hong Kong plans to clamp down on behaviour that brings it into ‘disrepute’, sparking criticism by staff, students
Staff and student representatives insist proposal, signed off by university chancellor and city leader John Lee, is too vague and would damage academic freedom. University says similar provisions exist in British universities, such as Birmingham and Edinburgh and special disciplinary committee would be formed
By Ezra Cheung

The University of Hong Kong wants to introduce a new statute to penalise those who bring the institution into disrepute. Photo: Nora Tam

The University of Hong Kong wants to introduce a new statute to penalise those who bring the institution into disrepute. Photo: Nora Tam

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) said it wanted to clamp down on behaviour that brings it into “disrepute”, but failed to give a definition of the sort of conduct that could land students in hot water.

But representatives of students, staff and graduates said on Wednesday the proposed statute, to come into force on October 20 if approved by lawmakers, would damage what should be an open and inquiring environment.

Casey Chik Yau-hong, an undergraduate representative, said the amendment was vague and there was no need for it.

He said: “There are different mechanisms to manage similar incidents. I don’t see any circumstances this amendment can be applied to. Students may have concerns over how the school will use the new power. It is not what an open, pluralistic environment should be.” Continue reading

HK offers bounties in pursuit of dissidents overseas

Source: NYT (7/4/23)
Hong Kong Offers Bounties as It Pursues Dissidents Overseas
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
The rewards of $128,000 for information leading to the prosecution of dissidents who have fled Hong Kong reflect stepped-up pressure to intimidate activists beyond the reach of the government.
By Tiffany May, Reporting from Hong Kong

A man standing at a lectern.

Hong Kong’s chief executive, John Lee, has called on eight overseas activists to turn themselves in a day after police put out bounties on them. Credit…Peter Parks/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hong Kong’s top leader said Tuesday that eight dissidents who had fled overseas would be “pursued for life” with large rewards being offered in exchange for information leading to their prosecution.

The rewards of 1 million Hong Kong dollars ($128,000) reflect a stepped-up effort to pressure and intimidate influential activists who left Hong Kong after a stringent new law was imposed in 2020. The so-called national security law has resulted in the arrests of 260 people, the majority of them accused for activities that took place in Hong Kong.

On Monday, the police emphasized the extraterritorial reach of the regulations, which criminalize activities endangering China, even if they had taken place outside Hong Kong and mainland China. They said the accused had violated provisions on foreign collusion and inciting secession.

The eight who were charged by the police are the activists Nathan Law, Anna Kwok and Finn Lau; two former lawmakers, Dennis Kwok and Ted Hui; a lawyer, Kevin Yam; a union leader, Mung Siu-tat, and the businessman and YouTuber Elmer Yuen. Continue reading

CUHK Young Scholars Visiting Scheme 2024

Young Scholars Visiting Scheme 2024 – CUHK-CCK Foundation Asia-Pacific Centre for Chinese Studies

The Young Scholars Visiting Scheme aims to support young scholars visiting The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) on research in Chinese Studies. They are expected to spend one term in residence at CUHK to actively participate in academic activities related to Chinese Studies and interact with CUHK scholars and students in 2024.

Eligibility Criteria

Ph.D. graduates from a recognized academic institution who currently have a full-time position with less than ten years of work experience after graduation


  • Application should include:
  • A detailed curriculum vitae
  • A two-page research proposal
  • Two recommendation letters
  • A list of his/her publications

All required documents should be sent to


Round-trip airfare (economy class), on-campus accommodation, a shared office-space & subsistence allowance

Deadline: 20 October, 2023 Continue reading

Backreading Hong Kong: Translating Hong Kong–cfp

Call for Abstracts
What: Backreading Hong Kong: Translating Hong Kong (2)
When: Monday 6 November 2023 – Tuesday 7 November 2023
Where: The Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library, The University of Toronto

The theme of the 2023 edition of Backreading Hong Kong Symposium will be “Translating Hong Kong,” continuing the discussion on the same topic in 2021, aiming to complement a volume proposal. Co-organised by the Department of Language Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough, the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library of the University of Toronto, and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, the symposium will be held in person in Toronto on 6-7 November 2023.

We are interested in the research that considers translation as a metaphor that attempts to freshen the studies of Hong Kong literature and culture. We invite presentations that ask inspiring and contentious questions about translation in and among various forms of cultural expression about Hong Kong. We also welcome discussions of discoveries and new developments in any facets of translation and Hong Kong, both literary and non-literary.

  • How does translation, broadly defined, better or limit a transnational understanding of Hong Kong culture?
  • Does translating Hong Kong imply an open or closed circulation of her culture?
  • Does translating Hong Kong serve to reiterate or decolonise the dominance of English?
  • What can we say about the heteroglossic phenomena in Hong Kong literature and culture?
  • What is the role that Cantonese plays in the translation of Hong Kong literature and culture?
  • How does the Hong Kong diaspora redefine the movement of her people, literature, and culture?

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Animation, the Obsolescence of the Image, and the Disappearance of HK architecture

Source: Association for Chinese Animation Studies (5/23/23)
Animation, the Obsolescence of the Image, and the Disappearance of Hong Kong Architecture
By Yomi Braester

In this essay I hope to provoke scholars of animation into considering the role of time, both cinematic time and historical time. Like other genres of the moving image, animation often has at its core the disappearance of the image — an anticipated, even planned obsolescence. I examine here works exhibited as lightshows on the Hong Kong’s International Commerce Centre (ICC) façade between 2014–2016; these animations point explicitly toward the moment when the medium degrades and even vanishes.

Film relies on the ephemerality of perception, as images succeed each other, 24 times per second or even faster. The transition from one frame to the next is what allows for animation — designing one frame at a time, and animating the image by showing the frames in sequence. In this sense, animation is bound to the scale of the frame. However, we may also think at other magnitudes. At the size of an entire work, what matters is the speed with which the film hurtles toward its inevitable end — and possibly toward an afterlife in remediated and redistributed forms. In blown-up displays, in which the single pixel is visible to the viewer, the image expires also at the resolution of the pixel, many times within each frame. More than we have acknowledged, animation works pay attention to the possibilities opened up by calibrating these proportions up and down. Continue reading