Keynote speech—Was Hong Kong 2019 a “Revolution of Our Times”?

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Hong Kong: Interrupted Revolutionary Social Movements Keynote Speech

In-person event only. Light refreshments at 5.30pm for a 6pm start.

What was "revolutionary" about the anti-extradition movement? Turning its aspirational and stirring slogan into an empirical question, this talk assesses the breakthroughs and limits of the historic uprising, against an entrenched colonial hegemony co-produced by British and Chinese rules. Specifically, we shall review four salient elements of this hegemony that have long defined the boundaries of the "political" in Hong Kong - rule of law, capitalist /market rationality, prosperity and stability, and inevitability of China. To what extent, how and why had protesters and citizens shattered these colonial boundaries through collective praxis and deliberations? As a critical moment in the long struggle for decolonization, what were the lessons of 2019?

About the Speaker

Ching Kwan Lee is a professor of sociology at UCLA. She is the author of three award-winning monographs on contemporary China's turn to capitalism: Gender and the South China Miracle: Two Worlds of Factory Women (1998), Against the Law: Labor Protests in China's Rustbelt and Sunbelt (2007), and The Specter of Global China: Politics, Labor and Foreign Investment in Africa (2017). She is the founding chair of the Society for Hong Kong Studies, and her latest publication is Hong Kong: Global China's Restive Frontier (2022), an open access book from Cambridge University Press website.