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Conference Paper: Reclaim the public space movement in Hong Kong: the struggle to liberate Victoria Harbor and Times Square

TitleReclaim the public space movement in Hong Kong: the struggle to liberate Victoria Harbor and Times Square
Authors
Issue Date2008
PublisherISA-RC21.
Citation
The 2008 International Sociological Association Research Committee on Urban & Regional Development (ISA-RC21) Tokyo Conference, Tokyo, Japan, 17-20 December 2008, p. 46 How to Cite?
AbstractWhen the Hong Kong government tore down the Star Ferry Pier at the Victoria Harbor in a hurry on 13 December 2006, they did not realize that their “routine” bulldozing style of development has ignited a new social movement, which, for lack of a better name, is now often understood as a reclaiming the public space movement. On that night, 14 protestors who occupied the construction site in order to stop the demolition were forcefully dragged out of the site into the police station. More than 200 supporters rallied outside the construction site, with new comers rushing to show their support. Some of them came due to sms messages. Some came after seeing the live footage of the police round-up on the independent media online. A spontaneous crowd who barely knows each other witnessed not only the government’s violence against the historical building and the people. Some of them have never participated in a police confrontation before. These new Star Ferry warriors, together with the anti-urban renewal groups and concerned artists formed a new alliance – Local Action. From April to August 2006, Local Action activists occupied the soon-to-be demolished Queen’s Pier –adjacent to the Star Ferry Pier – for 3 months demanding that this public space be kept in the heart of the financial district as a way to prevent further commodification and militarization of the Victoria Harbor. Since then, the reclaim the public space movement has spread all over Hong Kong, and forced the government to sue the Times Square owner for illegally subletting the Times Square (a privately owned public space) to Starbucks for profit. What brought these new agents together in the first place? Are they awakened to anger and defiance by the brutal demolition of the Star Ferry & Queen’s Pier? Or are they, as the government, mainstream politicians and media claim, in search of a “collective memory” at the death of the Star Ferry, which surprisingly happens to be a symbol of local Hong Kong identity? The purpose of this article is to unravel what we can learn from this seemingly new social movement. What is the driving force behind the movement? What are the politics of preservation involved?
DescriptionConference Theme: Landscapes of Global Urbanism: Power, Marginality, and Creativity
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/65027

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorChen, YCen_HK
dc.contributor.authorSzeto, MMen_HK
dc.date.accessioned2010-07-13T05:08:18Z-
dc.date.available2010-07-13T05:08:18Z-
dc.date.issued2008en_HK
dc.identifier.citationThe 2008 International Sociological Association Research Committee on Urban & Regional Development (ISA-RC21) Tokyo Conference, Tokyo, Japan, 17-20 December 2008, p. 46-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/65027-
dc.descriptionConference Theme: Landscapes of Global Urbanism: Power, Marginality, and Creativity-
dc.description.abstractWhen the Hong Kong government tore down the Star Ferry Pier at the Victoria Harbor in a hurry on 13 December 2006, they did not realize that their “routine” bulldozing style of development has ignited a new social movement, which, for lack of a better name, is now often understood as a reclaiming the public space movement. On that night, 14 protestors who occupied the construction site in order to stop the demolition were forcefully dragged out of the site into the police station. More than 200 supporters rallied outside the construction site, with new comers rushing to show their support. Some of them came due to sms messages. Some came after seeing the live footage of the police round-up on the independent media online. A spontaneous crowd who barely knows each other witnessed not only the government’s violence against the historical building and the people. Some of them have never participated in a police confrontation before. These new Star Ferry warriors, together with the anti-urban renewal groups and concerned artists formed a new alliance – Local Action. From April to August 2006, Local Action activists occupied the soon-to-be demolished Queen’s Pier –adjacent to the Star Ferry Pier – for 3 months demanding that this public space be kept in the heart of the financial district as a way to prevent further commodification and militarization of the Victoria Harbor. Since then, the reclaim the public space movement has spread all over Hong Kong, and forced the government to sue the Times Square owner for illegally subletting the Times Square (a privately owned public space) to Starbucks for profit. What brought these new agents together in the first place? Are they awakened to anger and defiance by the brutal demolition of the Star Ferry & Queen’s Pier? Or are they, as the government, mainstream politicians and media claim, in search of a “collective memory” at the death of the Star Ferry, which surprisingly happens to be a symbol of local Hong Kong identity? The purpose of this article is to unravel what we can learn from this seemingly new social movement. What is the driving force behind the movement? What are the politics of preservation involved?-
dc.languageengen_HK
dc.publisherISA-RC21.-
dc.relation.ispartofAbstract of ISA-RC21 Tokyo Conference 2008-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.titleReclaim the public space movement in Hong Kong: the struggle to liberate Victoria Harbor and Times Squareen_HK
dc.typeConference_Paperen_HK
dc.identifier.emailSzeto, MM: mmszeto@hkucc.hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.authoritySzeto, MM=rp01180en_HK
dc.identifier.hkuros166961en_HK
dc.identifier.spage46-
dc.identifier.epage46-
dc.publisher.placeJapan-

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