Politics and Remembering in Hong Kong

Memories of Tiananmen: Politics and Processes of Collective Remembering in Hong Kong, 1989–2019 is authored by Francis L. F. Lee and Joseph M. Chan and published by Amsterdam University Press.

The book is reviewed for JCA by Joseph Cheng, formerly of the City University of Hong Kong and a democracy advocate for Hong Kong.

This volume provides an account of Hong Kong’s commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen student movement in China, considering the period from 1989 to  2019, and discusses the developments after 2019 in an epilogue.

Lee and Chan on broader discussions of collective memories about historical events. In looking at Hong Kong and Tiananmen, Cheng believes “their work … contributes to a
better understanding of the local political developments over three decades.” Over time, there was a development of a strong memory of resistance.

As “a space of exception within China,” the Tienanmen commemoration became a “significant marker” of the “one country, two systems” model after 1997. As Cheng observes, there’s now changed circumstances: “Today, the Chinese leadership obviously accords the top priority to national security…”. Rallies considered to “threaten” China’s authoritarian narratives and practices are now forbidden.

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