Politics of belonging: a study of the campaign against mainland visitors in Hong Kong

Iam Chong Ip*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


My research question focuses on the new surge of right-wing nativism, especially the anti-mainland visitors campaign, in Hong Kong. The recent hostility towards “China,” unprecedented in its scope, degree and complexity, arose when China departed from a poor socialist country to become a global capitalist power. Hong Kong's closer economic ties to China accompanied with the mainland Chinese visitors’ wealth, shopping activities, mobility and even physical presence are now felt to be more parasitical, revolting and threatening. This sentiment has unsettled and politicized the Hong Kong–China relationship in all aspects of everyday life. I argue that the contestation and negotiation over local belonging take a biopolitical turn in pursuit of ethnocracy. The new call for Hong Kong identity, linked to a governmental subject with strong racist overtones, is about the anxiety over Hong Kong as a collective form of life. The new nativists yearning for their homeland come from frustration over the inability to settle their distinction with the “intimate other” and the anguish about the “disappearance” or “death” of Hong Kong, a city overwhelmed by the fear of China as both a politico-economic power and a biopolitical power.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-421
Number of pages12
JournalInter-Asia Cultural Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2015


  • belonging
  • biopolitics
  • Chinese visitors
  • ethnocracy
  • Hong Kong
  • identity
  • nativism


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