Hong Kong Apostasy

For many people in Hong Kong, that alienated Chinese territory, the double commemoration of National Day and Mid Autumn Festival in 2017 was a sombre one. On the 1st of October, we acknowledged that disquiet by launching a new series in China Heritage titled ‘Hong Kong, The Best China’ 香港, 最好的中國. The title of the series was suggested by a remark made by John Minford in an interview given to the Hong Kong Economic Journal 信報 in April 2016: when John’s mother entertained guests, she would make a point of bringing out ‘the best China’. An effort was necessary, John went on to observe, to preserve ‘the best China’, much of which can be found in Hong Kong.

Our Hong Kong-related Heritage Journal entries presented below incorporate previously published materials — essays, satires, poems, translations and commentaries — that have appeared from 1 July 2017, the twentieth anniversary of Beijing’s take over of the former British crown territory.

From October 2018, ‘The Best China’ also includes essays, translations and interviews related to ‘The Other China’, that is the China of hearts and minds not dominated by the Communist party-state.


In the first instalment of ‘Hong Kong, The Best China’, we introduced readers to recent commentaries by the veteran journalist Lee Yee 李怡 (李秉堯). Founding editor of The Seventies Monthly 七十年代月刊 (later renamed The Nineties Monthly) Lee Yee has been a prominent commentator on Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwan politics, as well as the global scene, for over forty-five years. His position has gone from that of being a sympathetic interlocutor with the People’s Republic in the late 1970s to that of outspoken rebel and man of conscience from the early 1980s. For decades Lee has analysed Hong Kong politics and society with a clarity of vision, and in a clarion voice, rare among the territory’s writers. The essays translated in The Best China are from ‘Ways of the World’ 世道人生, the regular column Lee Yee wrote for Apple Daily 蘋果日報 until its demise under the National Security Law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong from 1 July 2020.

The Black Bauhinia 黑洋紫荊, a symbol of the Hong Kong resistance


Hong Kong Apostasy

This feature takes as its focus the 2019 Hong Kong Protest Movement. Starting in March 2019, mass protests against legislation proposed by the territories political leader gained momentum over the summer months. Faced by the insurmountable political nexus between the Hong Kong authorities and their Beijing masters, protests, and the demands of protesters, escalated until the city was overshadowed by a popular uprising. The protests were, in essence, a rejection of the Official China of Xi Jinping and a celebration of The Other China, or The Best China, one repeatedly ignored, misunderstood and threatened by the Communist party-state.

Our humble bellies have ingested a surfeit of treachery,
eaten their fill of history, wolfed down legends —
and still the banquet goes on, leaving
an unfilled void in an ever-changing structure.
Constantly we become food for our own consumption.
For fear of forgetting we swallow our loved ones,
we masticate our memories and our stomachs rumble
as we look outwards.

— from P.K. Leung 梁秉鈞, ‘Cauldron’
Translated by John Minford and Can Oi-sum

  • Note:

We are grateful to our diligent, but anonymous, Constant Reader #1 for commenting on and offering corrections to the following translations.

— The Editor



The Best China

Xu Zhangrun vs. Tsinghua University
Voices of Protest & Resistance

March 2019-

Media Reports:

An Overview of the Series:

Voices of Protest & Resistance:

The Ai Weiwei Interview