Boyang Su is a PhD student in the Lau China Institute. She obtained her BA in Liberal Arts with a major in History and a minor in Politics from King's, and a MSc in China in Comparative Perspective from LSE. Her research interests lie primarily in the area of Hong Kong issues, Hong Kong identity and Chinese nationalism.
Thesis title: Beyond the Protests: A Study in the Discursive Constructions of Hong Kong Identity
Boyang's research project focuses on the discursive constructions of Hong Kong identity. It intends to analyse the contestation over the meaning of being Hongkongese between two prominent political forces in the public sphere of Hong Kong — the pro-China force and the counter-China force — through a textual analysis of the political and media discourses produced for, on and from three post-handover social movements in Hong Kong — the 2003 Anti-Article 23 demonstration, the Umbrella Movement in 2014 and the 2019 Anti-Extradition Bill (ELAB) protest. It aims to find out how the Chinese state discourse and the Hong Kong local discourse are discursively constructed by pro-China and counter-China forces over Hong Kong identity through various discursive strategies, what aspects of each discourse have been changed or maintained over time, and how each of them seeks to dominant and naturalise itself in Hong Kong public sphere.
The ultimate objective of this research is to provide a detailed picture of the discursive phenomena of Hong Kong identity, which is an ideal case study of identity politics around the world, of how a state builds up hegemony in the public sphere of a newly incorporated city, and more importantly, of how China tries to seek greater influence and respect from the world mainly by means of projecting its soft power rather than hard power in the context of the global debate over its rise as a threat or an opportunity.