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In a time of civil unrest in Hong Kong starting summer of 2019, Hong Kong citizens have navigated a shift in identity and their political social climate. Beginning in early summer of 2019, protests broke out around Hong Kong in response to the Hong Kong government's proposal of an Extradition Bill, which ultimately would allow Hong Kong legal power to "extradite fugitives to territories where it doesn't have formal extradition deals, including mainland China, Taiwan and Macau" (Hollingsworth, 2019). The poems examined in this essay convey what it means to be a citizen of Hong Kong during a time of social and political unrest. Through close reading and analysis of recent poems published in 2019 to the present both in English and Chinese, this research demonstrates how indigenous progressive poets create new interpretations of bodily images through protest poetry, using personification of the city and concrete images of limbs, blood, and the youth to bespeak the disembodiment of political ideals that Hong Kong citizens are experiencing. Hong Kong poets' creative ramifications of body politics in protest poetry from 2019 to the present indicate not only a vision of themselves as constituting members of the city's political landscape, but also a perception of the body as a site of affective experience and change. Because the city is collectively experiencing the protests, the personification of Hong Kong as a single body proves to be an effective approach in demonstrating the cultural and political shifts. Against the backdrop of Hong Kong's rapidly changing political scene, these poems articulate disembodiment, frustration, and yearning for new ideals of identity and citizenship.
Utah State University
English Language and Literature
Young, Kimberlie, "The Body and the City: Re-Envisioning Hong Kong Through Protest Poetry" (2020). Fall Student Research Symposium 2020. 100.