Contagious China


 Chinese Identity of young hong kongers

Extending the scope from mainland Chinese students to Hong Kong students, I explored how the meaning of “Chinese” has been constructed and reconstructed among Hong Kong youth over the decades. Recent protest movements in post-colonial Hong Kong have exposed a divided society that is grappling with an identity crisis. We looked at the co-evolutionary trajectories of Chinese identity and Hong Kong student movements and analysed the mechanisms that have conditioned perceptions of Chinese identity since the 1960s. Using a structured process-based approach to identity, we argued that symbolic resources can be combined with an organic boundary mechanism in one movement and the voluntarist boundary mechanism in another, contingent on population structure, political system and the nature of social conflicts at a given time. Thus, through decades of student movements, “being Chinese” has been articulated in relation to the oppressed in the British colony, Chinese nation, local society, and mainland Chinese. The outcome of each movement has redefined the connotations of “being Chinese” and this has in turn redirected the next wave of activism (Lin & Lin, 2017).