The Cultural Revolution and 'Diasporic Trauma' in Hong Kong

The Cultural Revolution and 'Diasporic Trauma' in Hong Kong

October 30, 2017
PL-5005
12:30 PM

From the early 1950s till the early 1980s, hundreds of thousands of Chinese fled from the mainland to Hong Kong. While some of these people were economic elites hoping to migrate to other countries or political aspirants hoping to join the Kuomintang (KMT) in Taiwan, others risked everything to start a new life in the colonial city. Still, until the mid-1960s, many of these migrants hoped to return to the mainland someday. However, by the early years of the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s, the brutality of the CCP and the political chaos in the mainland, such as the armed struggles in Guangdong, deeply affected the psychology of these "transiting people" in Hong Kong. In addition, the sensationalized reports of the terror in the printed media left a deep impression that mainland China was no longer a home to which they could return. Even though today not many people remember the details of the 1960s, this "diasporic trauma" has been a crucial factor in the formation of the so-called Hong Kong identity.