Hong Kong from the outside: four keywords
Abstract Perhaps the best way to read the 2014 Hong Kong Umbrella Movement is in the imaginative possibilities it opened up, rather than whether it succeeded or failed. Hong Kong’s struggles for self-determination may well be presenting a political zone without historical parallel. This brief commentary considers four keywords that occur repeatedly in this special issue, territory, change, way of life and mainland. The process of abstraction of space, and of converting it into a capitalist resource, transforms the very concept of space as home and belonging, traditional to nationalist movements. Does it open up further divides, around the concept of “occupation”? How is change to now be chronicled, in a region that claims in its Basic Law to remain unchanged over fifty years, especially when that change is taking place as much in China as in Hong Kong? And finally, how can history be written from such a space?
Ashish Rajadhyaksha is an independent writer and researcher based in Bangalore. He is the co-editor (with Paul Willemen) of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema (1999) and author of Indian Cinema in the Time of Celluloid: from Bollywood to the Emergency (2009).