Hong Kong Studies Forum: The Power of Disobedience, Discourse and Creative Dissent

This Forum features five events from 8 November to 16 December 2019.

In drawing attention to the unfolding protests in Hong Kong, the aim of this YCAR Hong Kong Studies Forum is to inform and increase understanding of the audience of this significance global civil movements in history.

A solo show of the works of renowned Hong Kong political cartoonist, Kee-kwan Wong (Zunzi), launched the Forum on 1 November 2019 and runs until 17 November 2019. The first phase also included two keynote talks and a panel reflecting on current Hong Kong Protests held on 8 November 2019.

In the Forum’s second phase, from 20 November to 16 December 2019, included an exhibition of graphic design art focusing on civil movements tactics as well as a talk by the show’s curator, Professor Wendy S. Wong (Design, York University).  

The Program
Political cartoon show by Zunzi
Hong Kong. Now What? !! – Civil Movements through a Cartoonist’s Eyes
Venue: Fourth Floor Corridor, Department of Design, Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Building
Date: 30 October to 17 November 2019

The renowned Hong Kong political cartoonist, Kee-kwan Wong, better known by his pen name Zunzi, will mount a solo show featuring works published during his nearly 40-year career. His works captured a history of political changes and civil movements in Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China, including the 1997 issues, the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, the 2014 Umbrella Movement, and the ongoing 2019 Hong Kong Protests.

Keynote talk
Hong Kong in 2019: Movement Dynamics and its Political Future

This talk will address the social movement in Hong Kong triggered by the highly unpopular extradition bill. Yet, the protests are still going strong and have grown increasingly violent despite a formal withdrawal of the bill. What does a supposedly leaderless protest movement come about? What are the protest dynamics? How has the Hong Kong government handled the protests? What are the dynamics between the Hong Kong Police Force and protestors? What is Hong Kong’s political future and the outlook for “one country two system”? These are some of the questions the talk will explore.

Speaker: Lynette Ong, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto
Discussant: Rick Sin, Course Director, School of Social Work, York University and Co-Chair, Asian Canadian Labour Alliance

Venue: Room 306, Accolade West Building, Keele Campus
Date/Time: Friday, 8 November 2019, 1 to 2:30 pm

Roundtable Discussion
A Roundtable Discussion on Hong Kong’s Defiant Movement and Beyond
In this roundtable, panelists will discuss what they observe to be at the heart of the 2019 Hong Kong protests and what they see is missing in the public discourse of this movement. The speakers will explore implications for the international discourse and praxis of decolonization, human rights and democracy as well as the support that the Hong Kong diaspora can offer at this movement for the future.

Panellists (in alphabetical order):
o Justin Cheng, core member of the Hong Kong Democratic Alliance of Overseas Postgraduate Students; MA student (History) and a student associate of Hong Kong Studies Initiative, University of British Columbia
o J.C.C.
o Edward Wong, core member of Lausan; PhD student, School of Social Work, York University
o Vincent Wong, William C. Graham Research Associate, International Human Rights Program, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
Venue: Rm 306, Accolade West Building
Date/Time: Friday, 8 November 2019; 3 to 5:00pm

Access an audio recording of the panel discussion here: https://youtu.be/gNTcqW3mLeM

Reception & Talk by Zunzi
Hong Kong. Now What? !! – Civil Movements through a Cartoonist’s Eyes
Based on his retrospective political cartoon show held at the Department of Design, Hong Kong cartoonist Zunzi will share his creative experiences in this talk where he will review his nearly 40 years of experience witnessing civil movements in Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China.
Venue: Rm 0006, Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Building
Date/Time: Friday, 8 November 2019; 6:00 to 8:00pm

This event is presented by the York Centre for Asian Research and the Department of Design, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design and supported by the Canada-China Initiatives Fund at York University.

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Graphic Design Exhibit || Graphic Design Tactics for Civil Movements: The 2019 Hong Kong Protests

Venue: Fourth Floor Corridor, Department of Design, Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Building, Keele Campus
Date: 20 November to 16 December 2019

Drawing on tactics employed in protests in the past 10 years, including the 2014 Umbrella Movement (Hong Kong) and the 2011 Occupy Wall Street (United States), protesters in Hong Kong have adopted a fluid resistance strategy against the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 (2019年逃犯及刑事事宜相互法律協助法例(修訂)條例草案). Proposed by the Hong Kong government, the bill sought to close a legal gap that prevents the extradition of fugitives to Taiwan, Macao and the Mainland as laid out in the Foreign Offenders Ordinance, which was negotiated in 1997 when the United Kingdom returned the territory to the People’s Republic of China. Policymakers made the decision at the time due to perceived fundamental differences in the criminal justice system of the mainland, especially as regards to the protection of fundamental rights.

The tabling of this bill resulted in a large-scale rally on 9 June 2019 when over one million people took the streets in protest. In the months that followed, a decentralized civil movement with no dominating leaders and no blind followers has evolved into a humanitarian crisis. Protesters and ordinary citizens accuse the Hong Kong Police Force of the brutal suppression of the right to protest in the defence of democratic rights.

The 2019 Hong Kong Protests provide not only rich content for various academic disciplines in the study of civil movements, but has also generated a spectacular volume of creative protest arts based on the evolution of the situation in this city of over seven million inhabitants. With its foundation in the examination of the creative pedagogy of visual communication design, the curator has selected and analyzed works created during the Protests and collected from the demonstration sites or shared on social media. These contemporary pieces help to tell the story of this significant period in Hong Kong’s history, acknowledging how this medium can be used as an effective and an evocative tactic to communicate, publicize and share activities in Hong Kong and around the world.

Curatorial Talk || Graphic Design Tactics for Civil Movements: The 2019 Hong Kong Protests
Venue: Room 0005, Accolade East Building, Keele Campus
Date/Time: Thursday, 21 November 2019 | 1:00 to 2:30 pm

Curator: Wendy S. Wong, Department of Design, York University
Chair: Yuk-Lin Renita Wong, Professor, School of Social Work, York University

Wendy S. Wong, curator of Graphic Design Tactics for Civil Movements: The 2019 Hong Kong Protests, will explore how actors in the ongoing 2019 Hong Kong Protests are using graphic design as a medium and a resistance tactic.

With the massive amounts of information about the Protests and their rapid evolution on a daily basis, she will examine how creators, both professionally trained and amateur, organize and digest facts into various visual communication design genres such as posters, information graphics, typography design, animation, global publicity campaigns and installation arts. As pro-government agents control the majority of the major mass communication media in the city, the curator will consider how social media and live stream casting technology plays a critical role as a platform for the protesters and supporters to organize and respond to the unfolding activities and events in Hong Kong and further afield. She will also weave in her experiences as a researcher in Hong Kong during the summer of 2019 as well as explain her process for selecting the graphic design show exhibits.

Discussant: Rick Sin, Course Director, School of Social Work, York University; Co-Chair, Asian Canadian Labour Alliance

As a native Hongkonger who closely follows the ongoing defiant movement, Rick Sin will highlight the defining features of the protesters’ organizing strategies and tactics, and examine how cultural identities – Hongkonger, Chinese, and global citizen – help constitute and are constituted in and through this leaderless people’s movement.

These events are presented by Department of Design, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design at York University with support from the York Centre for Asian Research and the Canada-China Initiatives Fund at York University.

For more information: ycar@yorku.ca