The Cornell Contemporary China Initiative welcomes Professor CK Lee, Sociology, UCLA The actual start time of the event is 4:45 p.m.
Hong Kong: Global China’s Restive Frontier
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? To unravel this Hong Kong puzzle, this talk situates the China-Hong Kong contestation in the post-1997 era in the broader context of “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 countermovement from Asia to Africa, ranging from acquiescence and adaptation to appropriation and resistance. In Hong Kong, reactions against the totality of Chinese power have taken the form of eventful protests, which over two decades have broadened into a momentous decolonization struggle. More than an ideological conflict between a liberal capitalist democratizing city and its Communist authoritarian sovereign, the Hong Kong story, stunning and singular in its many peculiarities, also offers general lessons about a global force and its uneven consequences.