Inter-Asia Cultural Studies: Movements

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17.1 visual essay



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  »  Issues Contents  2015-10-07 Politics of belonging

Politics of belonging: a study of the campaign against mainland visitors in Hong Kong
IP Iam-Chong
Abstract My research question focuses on the new surge of right-wing nativism, especially the anti-mainland visitors campaign, in Hong Kong. The recent hostility towards “China,” unprecedented in its scope, degree and complexity, arose when China departs from a poor socialist country to a global capitalist power. Hong Kong’s closer economic ties to it accompanied with the mainland Chinese visitors’ wealth, shopping activities, mobility and even physical presence are now felt to be more parasitical, revolting and threatening. This sentiment has unsettled and politicized the Hong Kong-China relationship in all aspects of everyday life. I argue that the contestation and negotiation over local belonging take a biopolitical turn in pursuit of ethnocracy. The new call for Hong Kong identity, linked to a governmental subject with strong racist overtones, is about the anxiety over Hong Kong as a collective form of life. The new nativists yearning for their homeland come out of frustration over the inability to settle their distinction with the “intimate other” and the anguish about the “disappearance” or “death” of Hong Kong, a city overwhelmed by the fear of China as both a politico-economic power and a biopolitical power.
Keywords: nativism, identity, belonging, ethnocracy, biopolitics, Chinese visitors, Hong Kong
Author’s biography
Dr. Ip Iam-Chong is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University. He earned his PhD degree at National Taiwan University, Taipei in 2007. His research interests include urban studies, social movement and contemporary Chinese intellectual history. He has published articles in journals such as China Perspectives, Cultural Dynamics, Reflexion and tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. He is also one of the founders of Hong Kong In-media, an independent media outlet in Hong Kong.

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