Inaugural Bernard H.K. Luk Memorial Lecture in Hong Kong Studies

Dr Choi Po King of the Chinese University of Hong Kong will give the inaugural Bernard H.K. Luk Memorial Lecture in Hong Kong Studies on 27 April 2017.

A beloved teacher and colleague, Professor Luk (1946-2016) was an internationally recognized authority on the history of Hong Kong. For more about his legacy, please visit:

This memorial lecture has been created in honour of his work, and will be an annual event hosted by YCAR.

All are welcome to the lecture, which will take place at the Schulich School of Business Executive Dining Room on Thursday, April 27th at 2:30pm.

Dr Choi’s talk is titled “Should the Chinese Language be Taught in Putonghua? Contested Identities in the Linguistic Arena in Post-1997 Hong Kong.”

In China, the promotion of the standardized national language (putonghua) has been greatly accelerated by centralized state power and universal education since 1949. In this context, Hong Kong is a linguistic (and cultural) anomaly, as a haven for Cantonese and the only Chinese city where a local ‘dialect’ is still officially adopted as the teaching medium in schools. Since 1997, the official line has been surprisingly gentle, with individual schools free to decide whether to switch to putonghua as a medium of instruction. Nevertheless, 70 per cent of primary schools and more than a third of secondary schools had made the change by 2013. This is not, however, an uncontested process, with resistance from a small number of language scholars and teachers, and from the younger generation. This resistance, particularly that which involves students, is related to the Umbrella Movement in 2014, yet its agenda lies in a different sphere.

Dr Choi was trained as a sociologist at the University of Hong Kong and completed her doctorate at the University of Oxford. Until her retirement in 2016, she taught at the Faculty of Education, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and, for six years, she was Director of CUHK’s Gender Studies Programme. Her research interests and publications revolve around gender and education, masculinity studies, education policy, the history of the women’s movement, as well as life histories of workers in Hong Kong. Her current projects include an ethnography of masculinities among teenage boys in Hong Kong.

Her research interests overlap considerably with those of Bernard Luk, notably, Hong Kong culture and history, gender issues, education policy and academic freedom.

RSVPs welcome to