Contagious China


Anti-Moral and National Education Movement, Hong Kong, 2012

As the first large-scale student movement in Hong Kong since 1997, the Anti-Moral and National Education Movement in 2012 has paused the government’s attempt to legitimate Chinese national identity through education programs, which manifests the exuberant national identity crisis in this post-colonial society. Through a case study on this movement, we examine the movement-identity dynamics and discuss the meaning of being Chinese in Hong Kong. Viewing a social movement as a dialogic process bounded by actors’ background expectancies, we focus on how the framing contest among movement activists, the media and the government led to the success of this movement. Regarding social movements as an effective agent constructing the meaning of identities, we further discuss the multi-level connotations of Chinese national identity and its fluid nature. Being Chinese in Hong Kong has to face two levels of potential tension: one is the boundary between ‘them’ and ‘us’, and the other is the congruence between democratic local/periphery and the authoritarian national/center. Without addressing such tension embedded in the identity crisis, any efforts to legitimate Chinese national identity in Hong Kong would hardly be effective. (Lin & Lin, 2017b)