Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Hong Kong is a vibrant, dynamic city currently experiencing rapid political and social change. It is situated within the “Greater Bay Area” (GBA), a region comprised of the contiguous cities surrounding the Pearl River Delta that the Chinese government is working to combine into an overarching “megacity” of over 100 million people. Known for its economic liberalism, its unique colonial history, its expression of Cantonese culture and its cultural hybridity, Hong Kong is now undergoing rapid transformations to link it more closely to Mainland China- politically, economically, socially, and culturally. These developments, it seems, have only accelerated following massive anti-government protests in 2019, the subsequent imposition of a sweeping National Security Law, and border closures that have sealed the city off to nearly all international travel since early 2020.
In this travelogue, Chris Pieper, a Global Studies graduate student who lived in the region from 2018-2021, will connect Hong Kong’s unique geography and history to the political, economic, social and cultural changes taking place today. We will discuss how these changes have manifested on the ground, transforming the urban fabric of Hong Kong and altering the daily lives of its residents. We will also briefly venture across the border to Shenzhen, to learn more about the larger GBA project and see Hong Kong’s changes from the Mainland perspective. Finally, we will also discuss general travel advice for those hoping to visit this fascinating region and witness these critical developments for themselves. (Photo provided by Chris Pieper)