Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong

Riverhead. Apr. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780593191811. $28. SOC SCI
What is the Hong Kong identity? This is the central question of journalist Lim’s (The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited) beautifully written book. She addresses this question by tracing the history of Hong Kong from prehistoric times, Chinese imperial rule, British colonization, the handover to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1997, and through to the present day. In addition to archival research, this book includes information gathered by interviews with a number of prominent people. Interspersed throughout are Lim’s personal stories of her life there, and the tales of the colorful King of Kowloon (Tsang Tsou Choi, 1921–2007), an eccentric graffiti artist who claimed to be the true ruler of Hong Kong. The book concludes with a tragic epilogue of how the national security law imposed on Hong Kong by the PRC in 2020 has virtually stripped the region of civil liberties it previously enjoyed.
VERDICT A fascinating work that is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Hong Kong. Those looking for something focused more exclusively on the 2019 protests should consider Antony Dapiran’s City on Fire.
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