This year, the 43rd annual Hong Kong Arts Festival commissioned a chamber opera in three acts called Datong: The Chinese Utopia. Depicting the life and times of Kang Youwei (1858-1927), a philosopher and reformer of China’s last Qing dynasty, it premiered in the theater of the Hong Kong City Hall.
A week ago today I sat together with you outside the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s library, a teacher among other teachers, a university member beside students, 13,000 strong. The weeks before had felt quiet.
Last week at Hong Kong’s Chinese University, a crowd gathered around a replica of the statue Goddess of Democracy. Beneath hand-lettered banners calling on fellow students to “shoulder their historic mission,” several generations of student union presidents discussed a proposal to boycott classes. Read more at: https://www.thenation.com/article/what-hong-kongs-occupy-movement-can-learn-history/.
In between memory and forgetting, there is commemoration. Twenty-five years ago this month, a protest in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square ended in tragedy. As historical event, the contours of the Tiananmen student movement have long since entered textbooks in the West.
Last Saturday, April 26, marked the official opening of Hong Kong’s June 4th Museum, the world’s first permanent exhibition on the 1989 Tiananmen student movement. On the eve of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the pro-democracy protests and Beijing’s brutal crackdown, the museum—sponsored by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements—opened with another kind of protest on its doorstep.
As the 120th anniversary of his birth approaches this month, Mao Zedong has been reinvented. Shaoshan, the village in Hunan Province where the Chinese leader grew up, has spent over 1.9 billion yuan (about $312 million) to restore his former residence and a nearby memorial plaza, and is planning festivities such as a mass singing of the Cultural Revolution anthem, “The East is Red.”