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China as “Other”

Resistance to and ambivalence toward national identity in Hong Kong
Chan Chi Kit
p. 25-34


Existing research shows multiple articulations of national identity by Hong Kong’s people since the handover in 1997. An issue of contention is whether the dichotomy of China as the “other” vis-à-vis Hong Kong’s local identity still prevails in the context of top-down renationalisation and new developments in transborder spatiality. While the existing literature has illustrated Hong Kong people’s steady growth of pride and affinity for national symbols, re-examination of three representative surveys (2006, 2008, and 2010) demonstrates that resistance to these cultural icons is also growing. Furthermore, while previous studies have revealed that a “cultural-economic China” is more welcome than a “political China,” the three surveys mentioned above indicate that even the former is meeting growing local resistance. The otherness of China hence should be re-visited in light of the ambivalence of Hong Kong identity. The theoretical and social implications of this sense of the otherness of China are also significant. Specifically, this article argues that the ambivalence of Hong Kong people’s articulation of national identity is closely connected to the uneasiness generated by encounters between China and Hong Kong in recent years: controversies and contentions arising from national education, the transborder flow of population, and the provision of goods and public services for non-locals. In this paper, I shall look at the development of local and national identities in some states of contested equilibrium.

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Bibliographical reference

Chan Chi Kit, « China as “Other” », China Perspectives, 2014/1 | 2014, 25-34.

Electronic reference

Chan Chi Kit, « China as “Other” », China Perspectives [Online], 2014/1 | 2014, Online since 01 January 2017, connection on 11 December 2017. URL :

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About the author

Chan Chi Kit

Chan Chi Kit is Assistant Professor at the Hang Seng Management College since completing his PhD thesis at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.Hang Shin Link, Siu Lek Yuen, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong (

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