‘Glory to Hong Kong’ not going away

While some government officials expressed satisfaction when Glory to Hong Kong disappeared from certain online platforms, there wasn’t much overt gloating. Which was just as well, since the subversive song is back. The news last week was that the UK-based distributor – a self-publishing service that helps indie musicians monetize their work – had removed the title from streaming sites. The originator of the piece has now restored it. And the clicks no doubt keep coming.

The big news story for today will be the verdict for 16 of the 47 opposition figures arrested back in 2021 for plotting to ‘subvert state power’. Good backgrounds from HKFP and the BBC. As someone following this closely pointed out, the authorities can’t tolerate the idea of prominent and popular activists – Long Hair, Joshua Wong, et al – being out on the street where they can be a focus of attention or even some sort of potential alternative power centre.

Meanwhile, some early weekend reading…

The Jamestown Foundation looks at a new Chinese university textbook called An Introduction to the Community of the Zhonghua Race (中华民族共同体概论)…

…the textbook is critical of past preferential policies for minorities. It argues they “deviated from their original intention” and “solidified ethnic differences and fostered a narrow ethnic consciousness that gave rise to the false thesis of ‘ethnic minority exceptionalism’” … This has caused “some minorities”—again left unnamed, but the Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Mongols are the obvious referent—to distort their histories and “use the protection of cultural diversity to cling to backward ways of life and stereotypes.”

…The historical imaginary behind this molding process is deeply influenced by the late sociologist Fei Xiaotong (费孝通), and his dialectic reading of the “multiple origins, single body (多元一体)” structure of Chinese racial evolution…

…The Zhonghua race, according to this theory, emerged some two million years ago with a distinctly Chinese group of hominids. It then organically grew by drawing in and absorbing surrounding peoples into its superior Huaxia-cum-Han core, expanding in size and geographic distribution without either interruption or division. Like a giant “snowball (雪球)” in Fei Xiaotong’s words. In this story of national becoming, Tibetan, Mongol, Uyghur, and other indigenous peoples exist only in their genetic service to an eternally evolving, Han-centric “mega-community (超大规模共同体).”

At China Heritage, a New Zealand academic asks why fewer people are interested in learning Mandarin…

…one of the main problems is that the Chinese culture promoted overseas by PRC apparatchiks is totally unappealing to the majority of young people…

Calligraphy and Peking opera and the “Butterfly Lovers” simply won’t cut it with the majority of people under fifty, and yet this is the stuff that is constantly trotted out to the world as “Chinese culture” for foreign consumption … most of the money to promote Chinese culture overseas comes out of PRC state coffers and passes through the hands of out-of-touch bureaucrats eager to show their fealty to Xi Jinping’s ideas of “Superior traditional Chinese culture” and “cultural confidence”. As a result, the sorts of things that might appeal to prospective foreign learners — the works of the innumerable musicians and artists who have refused to serve the narrow interests of the state, for example — are passed over altogether in favour of people waving their arms around in long sleeves or cosplaying as Uyghurs to recorded music.

This is itself a reflection of what has happened within the PRC itself over the last decade

…The people in charge of promoting Chinese culture and language have succeeded in turning one of the world’s richest cultures into a total yawn-fest.

On the other hand – in a triumph of Chinese soft-power, Cambodia names a highway Xi Jinping Boulevard, which…

…connects National Road 4 in Phnom Penh’s Por Senchey district, to National Road 1 in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district. The construction work, undertaken by the Chinese company Shanghai Construction Group Co Ltd, began on Jan.14, 2019, and included four flyovers and eight bridges. The boulevard spans 15 km (9 miles) in Phnom Penh and 38 km (24 miles) in Kandal.

From The Hongkonger, Hong Kong’s historic role for anti-government activists (Sun, Rizal and Ho)…

It may seem hard to believe now, but there was a time when Hong Kong was a haven for revolutionaries who fled their own country to seek safety elsewhere.

For nostalgia buffs, a Discovery Channel documentary on Hong Kong in 1992.

And some BBC radio shows on China. This one, in particular.

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11 Responses to ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ not going away

  1. Eggs n Ham says:

    “Tibetan, Mongol, Uyghur, and other indigenous peoples exist only in their genetic service to an eternally evolving, Han-centric ‘mega-community’.”

    Wasn’t there something in the last century about a master race, that was ethnically pure and claimed dominion over all the lesser peoples around it? How did that work out again?

  2. Red Dragon says:

    “The historical imaginary behind this molding process is deeply influenced by the late sociologist Fei Xiaotong (费孝通), and his dialectic reading of the “multiple origins, single body (多元一体)” structure of Chinese racial evolution…”

    I’m puzzled. Is the word “imaginary” in the first line a typo? Should it read “imagery”? Or is it a “Freudian slip”, a subconscious acknowledgement by Fei Xiaotong that his theory is a load of bollocks?

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    I’ve seen “Han centric mega communities”. It’s not a pretty sight (nor is it easy on the ears).

  4. AHW says:

    “Hong Kong is located between the Philippines and Taiwan on China’s southeast coast…”

    Err, no it’s not, mate, It’s west of both of them!

    And one realises how long ago 1992 is by the crude state of the graphics on that documentary!

  5. Load Toad says:

    Re. Verdict.

    Isn’t any act of voting an attempt to confirm or overthrow a government?
    If these people had just decided to join one party so the vote in an election wasn’t split, would that have been illegal?
    What are they really guilty of…..

  6. Siujiu says:

    @Red Dragon: “Imaginary” isn’t a typo. It’s a bit of academic jargon, roughly synonymous with “conception.” It refers to the ways (including the narratives, values, symbols, etc. etc.) some community imagines something — in this case “Chinese” history, historical relations and processes, cultural relations, and so on.

    Why use “imaginary” rather than “understanding,” “conception,” or some other familiar term? Probably to stress that we’re talking not just about what some group believes about history but about how they imagine it, including the conditions, structure, and limits of their imagination. In this case, these conditions would include the presupposition that, somehow, all these different groups from different regions speaking different languages are fundamentally “one body” and that there is some determinate, unified “race” called “Han.”

    Me, I’ve never used the term myself. Usually another word is available that’s clearer and more informative.

  7. Formerly Known As... says:

    “… a New Zealand academic…” I suppose that’s one way to refer to Geremie Barmé. But just so we know, he is possibly the greatest living Sinologist, and certainly one of the greatest of all time.

  8. Joe Blow says:

    (from the video): “…..the Hong Kong tram, built in the early Thirties by Stanley Ho, the Macau tycoon…”

    Wot ??

    For the rest it was a nice video. I kept hoping to get a glimpse of myself but no luck. The only cliche missing was Brenda Chau’s pink Rolls Royce.

  9. Mary Melville says:

    Secretary for Justice
    SJ’s speech at Ceremonial Opening of Legal Year 2024
    “One distinctive and irreplaceable characteristic of Hong Kong is undoubtedly its common law system with strong international elements, which enjoys an exemplary reputation around the world. (???) An essential component of this common law system is the Judiciary which is given independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication by the Basic Law.”
    Umm ……………… as long as it trots out a one hundred per cent conviction rate, coz if it don’t …………………………….. THE SAME SJ WILL LAUNCH AN APPEAL.

  10. Fishchris says:

    I can only imagine how tempting it must be for many subversive ingrates amongst us to refrain from Satoshi-ing a simple open source AI to make imperceptible (except to the screening algorithms) modifications to the unmentionable song and continually repost it whenever removed until the streaming platform goes bankrupt from the investment in content moderation technology.

  11. Red Dragon says:


    Thank you very much for your patient explanation. I have learned something new (which is always nice), but whether this new found knowledge will prove in any way useful is very much to be doubted.

    Needless to say, I am aware that as the claptrap churned out by “academics” has become increasingly esoteric, the need for incomprehensible jargon in which to express it has also grown apace.

    But “imaginary”? Really?

    Surely people who use the word in the sense you describe should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

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