Delay no more: struggles to re-imagine Hong Kong (for the next 30 years)
Stephen Ching-kiu CHAN
Abstract Considering the world status of China, one would be concerned that Hong Kong is left with 32 more years, by 2047, to demonstrate how “one country, two systems” works, and to make the case that, by the time the 50-year period of “no change” promise for the Special Administrative Region expires, its people deserve a fair review of the arrangement of their future. Having endured 18 years of increasingly unpopular and ineffective government since 1997, citizens find little patience to delay full recognition of the root causes and engagement with the long-standing problems that weigh dangerously on the tipping point. In anticipation of the promised move to a fair and democratic political system, the community realise that they are now at a crossroads of whether to trust, to evade, to fight for, or to accept what will be allowed and given by the Beijing authority. Ordinary people have awakened to see a Hong Kong they never imagined plausible, in an endless process of Kafkasque metamorphosis, whereby the core values and way of life are subject to the ultimate twist of logic, reason and normality. At this crucial juncture of history came the Umbrella Movement of 2014, the collective action of civil dis-obedience against the status quo that shocked the world. The 79-day occupy action has transformed the city, which can no longer be the same again. It would be pertinent to identify the cultural-political factors which precipitate the public discourse, re-shuffle the power hierarchy, and shape the social body that engender the deep crisis of subjectivity among the local people.
Keywords: Umbrella Movement, future, postcoloniality, “One Country, Two Systems,” localism, status quo, neoliberalism, imagination, activism, democracy, decolonization, context, hegemony, subjectivity, Hong Kong, China
Stephen Ching-kiu Chan is Professor of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. He was the founding head of the department and director of its Master of Cultural Studies programme. Until August 2015, he was Associate Vice-President (Academic Affairs) and Registrar, and Director of Core Curriculum and General Education. His research now centres on the future imagination and cultural policy of Hong Kong. Co-editor of Hong Kong Connection and co-author of Hong Kong Un-imagined, Chan publishes also in Cultural Studies, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies and Cultural Studies Review. A founding member of the Kwan Fong Cultural Research and Development Programme at Lingnan, he convenes the Hong Kong Office of the Modern Asian Thoughts project of the Inter-Asia School. He is an elected board member of the Association for Cultural Studies representing the Asia constituency.