Is Mainland China the source of all of Hong Kong’s problems?

Jun Zhang


In the protest movement in Hong Kong in 2019, the growing influence of Mainland China was perceived to be responsible for the erosion of freedom of speech, skyrocketing housing prices, the dwindling of welfare resources, and other social issues. I suggest that assigning guilt to Mainland China for all of the frustrations of Hong Kong’s residents reproduces the mystique of the power of the authoritarian regime and takes attention away from the structural violence in daily life that has led to conflict, confrontation, fragmentation, and discrimination. This article traces the historical trajectory of Hong Kong’s colonial and post-handover governance and political economy to contextualize the structural violence in everyday lives. It then shows how the blame of such structural violence is put on immigrants from Mainland China, the victims of such violence.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/709525