HKBU PhD fellowships

2022/23 Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme
Department of Chinese Language and Literature

The Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Hong Kong Baptist University is a great place to pursue PhD studies for various reasons.

Our staff have received their qualifications and previously worked in various prestigious academic institutions in Hong Kong. Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, USA, UK, Germany and others.

Their research expertise covers areas as diverse as poetics and literary theory, canonical studies and commentaries, Sino-Korean cross-cultural studies, pre-classical inscriptions, paleography, excavated  manuscripts, as well as modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture.

The department is associated with a number of noted institutions such as the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology (JAS), the Sino- Humanitas Institute (SHI), and the Centre for Chinese Cultural Heritage (CCH). Among the most recent academic exchange partners of our department are Waseda University, National University of Singapore, Yonsei University, Heidelberg University and others. Continue reading

Is Taiwan next

Source: NYT (8/4/21)
Is Taiwan Next?
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
In Taipei, young people like Nancy Tao Chen Ying watched as the Hong Kong protests were brutally extinguished. Now they wonder what’s in their future.
By Sarah A. Topol

Nancy Tao Chen Ying outside Taipei.Credit…An Rong Xu for The New York Times

Under the sharp light of Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport, the 19-year-old was easy to find. He stood alone where Nancy Tao Chen Ying had instructed.

Nancy was at her office when she received the message. It was a hot and humid Friday afternoon in July 2019, and a friend in Hong Kong asked if she could get to the airport: A young anti-government protester was fleeing the semiautonomous Chinese territory; could she pick him up once he landed? Nancy had never done this before, but when she agreed, the protester sent her an encrypted message with his flight details, and she left work to meet him.

Slightly less than five feet tall and 26 years old, Nancy wore her long dark hair side swept, the layers framing her face. She dressed well, often in pastels, changing styles like moods. As Nancy approached him, the boy seemed unsettled. Tall and slim, he loomed over her, clutching a small backpack. He told her that while he had brought some clothes, he had little money. “It’s OK,” Nancy told him, leading him to the metro. “Let’s just go to Taipei first.” Continue reading

Utopian Ruins review

MCLC Resource Center has published my review of Utopian Ruins: A Memorial Museum of the Mao Era, by Jie Li. The review appears below and at its online home: My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton

Utopian Ruins:
A Memorial Museum of the Mao Era

By Jie Li

Reviewed by Kirk A. Denton

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright July, 2021)

Jie Li. Utopian Ruins: A Memorial Museum of the Mao Era Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020. 384pp. ISBN: 978-1-4780-1123-1 (paper); ISBN: 978-1-4780-1018-0 (cloth)

The past few years have seen a bonanza of excellent books dealing with memory of the Maoist past—Lingchei Letty Chen’s The Great Leap Backward: Forgetting and Representing the Mao Years, Margaret Hillenbrand’s Negative Exposures: Knowing What Not to Know in Contemporary Chinaboth of which I reviewed for MCLC, Sebastian Veg’s edited collection Popular Memories of the Mao Era, and the book under review here, Jie Li’s Utopian Ruins.

Utopian Ruins is framed as “a memorial museum of the Mao era,” with each chapter centered on different sorts of “artifacts”—prison texts “written in blood,” personal dossiers (檔案), photographs, films, and museums/memorials. Li sees herself as a curator—an overused word these days but one that is certainly apt in this case—who sifts through artifacts, choosing them judiciously for what they can tell us about the multivalenced nature of the Maoist past, and then glossing them with nuanced analyses and contextualizations. It goes almost without saying that her “museum” is self-consciously different from PRC state museums, such as the National Museum of China, which whitewash the Maoist past and make what is left serve political narratives of China’s “rejuvenation.” Although Utopian Ruins was conceived in part as a response to Ba Jin’s appeal for the creation of a Cultural Revolution museum, the kind of museum Li has in mind is a far cry from his “official” museum, which, if it were ever to materialize, would be shaped and distorted by state interests and would elide the trauma of the Maoist past. Continue reading

Critical China Scholars statement on the “lab-leak” investigation (2)

It is mystifying to me how otherwise really intelligent people willfully misread the recent CCS Statement on the ‘lab-leak hypothesis.’

The statement says clearly: we call for a multilateral inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 for the purposes of global health and international scientific cooperation; we are skeptical of any US-led inquiry because the inflamed politics of the bilateral relationship politicizes any such inquiry and renders it suspect from the onset; and we are clear that the PRC government would not cooperate with any US-led inquiry.  We are not unaware of the strong likelihood that both the Chinese and the US governments have been lying about many things concerning the virus, and we continue to be clear that the antagonisms of state politics will not resolve the questions, but rather will further inflame them. We link the COVID-19 origins stories and the further inflaming of bilateral antagonisms to anti-Asian racisms in the United States and elsewhere in the West, because we are not representing China or the Chinese, we are critical China scholars who reside outside of China. Our organization has issued clear condemnations of the Chinese state for the systemic racist violence they are perpetrating in Xinjiang, and anyone who is interested can certainly look on our website ( to find our positions on that and many other things.

In conclusion, I’d ask that those who might wish to disagree with us do so on the basis of what we’ve actually said.

Rebecca Karl (as an individual)

US kicks out Chinese students for ties to military

Source: SupChina (9/10/20)
U.S. kicks out 1,000 Chinese students for alleged ties to ‘military-civil fusion’
The Trump administration says that it has cancelled more than 1,000 visas of Chinese students since a May 29 proclamation that put graduate students connected to China’s “military-civil fusion” in the crosshairs.
By Lucas Niewenhuis

middle school connected to the northwestern polytechnic university in china

A flag-raising ceremony at the middle school attached to Northwestern Polytechnic School in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. Several Chinese undergraduate students in the U.S. who had their visas cancelled said they had previously attended this middle school. Photo via Baidu.

On May 29, 2020, the White House issued a proclamation that made clear the following: Any Chinese graduate student in the U.S. with even a vague connection to “military-civil fusion” in China was at risk of losing their visa.

What was less clear is how many students might end up being affected — one official estimate was “at least 3,000” of the approximately 360,000 Chinese students in the country — or whether the Trump administration would ever make transparent its criteria for determining whether or not a Chinese student was too close to the military for comfort.

  • Universities at the time were “deeply concerned that the order could lead to vast overreach, wrongly shutting out students whose work is non-military, openly published and critical to American research efforts in fields ranging from climate change to energy storage,” the LA Times reported.

Continue reading

Sino-Japanese War as Portrayed in Youth Literature

The Sino-Japanese War as Portrayed in Youth Literature — interview with Dr Minjie Chen, Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton

“That’s how I decided that a study of the representation of the Sino-Japanese War in children’s books was overdue. Little did I know, that quiet afternoon of leafing through a picture book would kick off several years of obsession with any publication about World War II. I combed through library catalogs and bibliographies, collected Chinese comic books, searched for entries in children’s magazines, photocopied pages from school textbooks, hunted out-of-print American children’s novels, and watched more movies than I can name about the Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War. In addition, I interviewed elderly women in my hometown, recorded their recollections of when the mountain town hosted the Zhejiang provincial government in exile until the end of the war, and compared their private experiences with what information was publicly available to youth.” – interview with Dr Minjjie Chen, Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton

China ravages Xinjiang cultural heritage (1)

Rian Thum just published a new article on how the sacred and historical sites of the Uyghurs are being destroyed or desecrated by the Chinese authorities – and he also puts this in the context of regime’s broad campaign against Uyghur culture (down to the force-cleansing of native cultural heritage of private home interior design). Highly recommended.

It can be read alongside other reports, such as the URHRP on Kashgar,  kashgar-coerced-forced-reconstruction-exploitation-and-surveillance-cradle, and on mosques,  Hanlon’s on Turpan, and others.

Yet as far as I know, ICOMOS, UNESCO and other heritage organizations and cultural heritage, architects and other professionals and academic organizations, are still preserving their silence on China’s mass destruction of culture and heritage in Xinjiang/East Turkestan.

It’s a malfunctioning of the world’s conscience. Was the world also as shamefully silent in the 1960s-70s, when the Chinese under Mao smashed up their own temples, as well as those of others, in Tibet and beyond?

In any case, the destruction today is genocidal in character. Over this past summer, new evidence and new testimonies on the systematic abuse and killing of women and children in the Uyghur region appeared, bringing about a clear realization around much of the world that the Chinese government is committing genocide, as defined under the 1948 Genocide Convention – under which Burma is currently being prosecuted in the Hague. Continue reading

Oberlin position

The East Asian Studies Program at Oberlin College invites applications for a one-semester, full- time non-continuing faculty position in Chinese Language and Culture. Appointment to this position will begin in the spring semester of the academic year 2020-2021 (Jan. – April 2021) and will carry the rank of Visiting Assistant Professor or Instructor.


Oberlin’s Chinese language curriculum, offering five levels of Chinese, is lodged within the East Asian Studies Program, which includes Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Studies, and the disciplines of Anthropology, Art History, Cinema Studies, Religion, History, Environmental Studies, and Politics.


The incumbent will teach a total of three courses (in Chinese language at the intermediate level and Chinese Studies). The Chinese studies courses will be taught in English. The incumbent will participate in co-curricular activities in the Chinese Language Program and in East Asian Studies.


Among the qualifications required for appointment is the Ph.D. degree (in hand or expected by the first semester of the academic year 2020-2021). Candidates must demonstrate interest and potential excellence in undergraduate teaching. Successful teaching experience at the college level is required. Native or near-native proficiency in Chinese and in English is also required. Finally, candidates must demonstrate proof of Ohio residency. Continue reading

AAS 2021–cfp

Dear Friends,

Please see the following important information regarding AAS 2021 call for proposals:


Liang Luo
AAS 2021 Annual Conference Program Committee

Dear Colleagues:

On behalf of the Program Committee for the Association for Asian Studies, I am pleased to issue the Call for Proposals for the AAS Annual Conference to be held March 25-28, 2021 at the Sheraton Grand Seattle Hotel and the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington.

The 2021 Annual Conference will include both in-person and virtual presentations and will also include options for virtual registration/attendance. For more information, please visit the conference registration page.

We are pleased to invite colleagues in Asian studies to submit proposals for Organized Panels, Roundtables, Workshops, and Individual Paper proposals. The program committee seeks sessions that will advance knowledge about Asian regions and, by extension, will enrich teaching about Asia at all levels. AAS Membership is not required to submit a proposal nor to present at the conference. Continue reading

HK dismissal petition

Posted by Magnus Fiskesjö,
[HKSAAF] Invitation for Signing a Statement on the sudden dismissal of Shiu Ka-chun of the Hong Kong Baptist University and Benny Tai of the University of Hong Kong

Dear all,

We would like to invite you to kindly consider being a co-signatory of the following statement regarding the dismissals of Mr. Benny Tai of the University of Hong Kong and Mr. Shiu Ka-chun of the Hong Kong Baptist University.  The Chinese version will be placed at the top, followed by the English one. The statement will be sent to the press. If you want to sign, please click the links below. Thanks for your time.

*   Chinese Version:
*   English Version:

Best regards,

Scholars’ Alliance for Academic Freedom Continue reading

HK tycoon pitches new city idea to Ireland

Source: The Guardian (7/28/20)
Hong Kong property tycoon pitches new city idea to Ireland
Ivan Ko hopes to find site between Dublin and Belfast to host 50,000 fellow Hongkongers
By Rory Carroll, Ireland correspondent

View from Castlecoe Hill looking north towards Dundalk. Ko said Ireland’s attractions included is low population density.

View from Castlecoe Hill looking north towards Dundalk. Ko said Ireland’s attractions included its low population density. Photograph: Christopher Briggs/Alamy Stock Photo

A Hong Kong property tycoon wants to build a city in Ireland to host 50,000 emigrants from the semi-autonomous city.

Ivan Ko, the founder of the Victoria Harbour Group (VHG), an international charter city investment company, hopes to find a 50 sq km site between Dublin and Belfast to create a new city, named Nextpolis, from scratch.

Ko has pitched the plan, which would include schools that teach in Cantonese, to Irish officials, arguing it would fit the government’s stated desire to develop regions outside the capital. Continue reading

HK voters defy Beijing

Source: NYT (7/13/20)
Hong Kong Voters Defy Beijing, Endorsing Protest Leaders in Primary
Voters turned out in high numbers to cast ballots in an unofficial primary for the city’s pro-democracy camp despite government warnings it might be against the new security law.
By Austin Ramzy, Elaine Yu and Tiffany May

Voters waited to cast ballots in a primary the opposition camp held over the weekend to select candidates for the upcoming elections. Credit…Jerome Favre/EPA, via Shutterstock

HONG KONG — Defying warnings from local officials that the Hong Kong opposition’s unofficial primary vote could be illegal under a sweeping new security law, hundreds of thousands of people chose avowedly pro-democracy candidates to run in citywide elections this year, results released Monday showed.

Early returns showed that the more than 600,000 people who had voted favored candidates who were prominent supporters of the months of demonstrations that have gripped the semiautonomous Chinese city. Their choices indicated a desire to see the goals of the protest movement pressed within the government itself, but could lead to an intensifying confrontation with the authorities, who could bar some from running.

“So many people came out to vote despite the threat that it may violate the national security law,” said Lester Shum, a 27-year-old activist and candidate who was among the front-runners on Monday. “That means Hong Kong people have still not given up.” Continue reading

HK law chokes a broadcaster RTHK

Source: NYT (7/8/20)
China’s Leash on Hong Kong Tightens, Choking a Broadcaster
RTHK, a government-funded news organization, has a fierce independent streak that has long angered the authorities.
By Austin Ramzy and Ezra Cheung

The “Headliner” set at Radio Television Hong Kong in June. The show, which has taken pointed jabs at the police, was suspended after government complaints. Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s public broadcaster has long been a rare example of a government-funded news organization operating on Chinese soil that fearlessly attempts to hold officials accountable.

The broadcaster, Radio Television Hong Kong, dug into security footage last year to show how the police failed to respond when a mob attacked protesters in a train station, leading to widespread criticism of the authorities. The broadcaster also produced a three-part documentary on China’s crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang. One RTHK journalist, Nabela Qoser, became famous in Hong Kong for her persistent questioning of top officials.

Now, RTHK’s journalists and hard-hitting investigations appear vulnerable to China’s new national security law, which takes aim at dissent and could rein in the city’s largely freewheeling news organizations. The broadcaster, modeled on the British Broadcasting Corporation, has already been feeling pressure. Continue reading

Documetary on the plight of Chinese miners

Source: SCMP (4/28/20)
‘It’s better than dying of hunger’: plight of Chinese miners with deadly lung disease exposed in new documentary
Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis tells the story of an iron ore miner in Hunan, central China, dying of lung disease after toiling in an illegal mine. The film can only be seen at private screenings, says director Jiang Ningxie, because he won’t submit it to censors. Film censorship is too strict, he says.
By Elaine Yau in Beijing

Chinese iron ore miner Zhao Pinfeng, who died from pneumoconiosis at home in Hunan province, China, is one of the subjects of new documentary Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis.

Chinese iron ore miner Zhao Pinfeng, who died from pneumoconiosis at home in Hunan province, China, is one of the subjects of new documentary Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis.

From the age of 15, Zhao Pinfeng worked for two decades as an iron ore miner in a remote, mountainous area of Hunan province in central China.

Several years ago Zhao, who by then had two children and whose wife is mentally challenged, was diagnosed with pneumoconiosis, a fatal lung disease. He lost the ability to work and had to breathe through a ventilator. On one fateful night in 2018, an electricity outage at his village stopped his ventilator. He died the next day.

Zhao’s final days were recorded for a documentary feature, Miners, the Horsekeeper and Pneumoconiosis. Directed by Jiang Nengjie, the 81-minute film revolves around Hunan villagers who relied on the illegal mines for a living before they were closed down by the government. They include porters who transport the mine explosives and iron shards, and miners like Zhao. Continue reading