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Ching Kwan Lee – Hong Kong: Global China’s Restive Frontier
November 1, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm | Humanities 1, Room 210
How did Hong Kong transform itself from a “shoppers’ and capitalists’ paradise” into a “city of protests” at the frontline of an anti-China global backlash in 2019? Most analysts interpret the recent turmoil in Hong Kong as a political and ideological struggle between a liberal, capitalist democratizing city and its Communist authoritarian sovereign. This talk broadens the plane of analysis to argue that the Hong Kong saga is part of a larger phenomenon called “global China,” conceptualized as a double movement. On the one hand, Beijing deploys a bundle of power mechanisms — economic statecraft, patron- clientelism and symbolic domination – around the world, including Hong Kong. On the other, this Chinese power project triggers a variety of countermovements from Asia to Africa, ranging from acquiescence and adaptation to appropriation and resistance.
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). Her latest publication is Hong Kong: Global China’s Restive Frontier (2022), an open access book from Cambridge University Press. She is working on an ethnographic and historical monograph about Hong Kong’s decolonization struggle, with a particular focus on the 2019 uprising.