‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times’ – a legacy from the intellectual history of Republican China
Boittout, Joachim. ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times’ – a legacy from the intellectual history of Republican China. Hong Kong Free Press, 22 September 2019 [En ligne]. URL : https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/09/22/liberate-hong-kong-revolution-times-legacy-intellectual-history-republican-china/ (consulté le 22 septembre 2019)
Enunciated, inscribed on banners, spray-painted and chanted—it is hard to avoid the slogan that has sparked the lightning strikes of power in the streets of Hong Kong since this June: “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times!” (Guangfu Xianggang, shidaigeming in Mandarin, or Gwongfuk Hoenggong, sidoi gaakming in Cantonese).
Accused of promoting the overthrowing of the One Country, Two Systems constitutional principle under which Hong Kong is now ruled, this slogan has become the focal point of official criticism in recent months. The official understanding of the slogan’s keywords does not seem to be shared by the majority of the population; complete emancipation of the territory is cited as an aim by very few protesters, as revealed by a number of surveys conducted by Hong Kong media on its meaning.
However, the historical meaning of the wording cannot go unnoticed and deserves further investigation, as it connects Hong Kong’s democratic aspirations to the history of the early Republic of China (Zhonghua minguo).
The “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times!” slogan is undoubtedly rooted in Republican China’s (1911-1949) intellectual heritage. Indeed, the terms “liberate” (guangfu, meaning literally restoring the light) and “revolution” (geming) summon a political heritage stemming from the 1911 Chinese revolution, also known as the Xinhai Revolution.[…]
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