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Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong

Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong

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An award-winning journalist and longtime Hong Konger indelibly captures the place, its people, and the untold history they are claiming, just as it is being erased.
The story of Hong Kong has long been obscured by competing myths: to Britain, a “barren rock” with no appreciable history before the English arrived; to China, a “borrowed place” at long last returned to the ancestral fold. Even to its own inhabitants, its distinctive origins–as a place of refuge and rebellion, of hybridity as an endlessly adaptive way of life–remained untaught and unknown. As protests erupted across the city in 2019 and were met with escalating suppression from Beijing, Louisa Lim–raised in Hong Kong as a half-Chinese, half-English child and now a reporter who had covered the region for more than a decade–realized that she was uniquely positioned to unearth this untold story before it was too late.
 
Lim’s deeply researched–and deeply personal–account casts often startling new light on key moments: the British takeover in 1842, the negotiations leading to its “return” to China in 1997, the current protests, and the future Beijing seeks to impose. Throughout, it is populated by contemporary figures who, like her, aim to put Hong Kongers at the center of their own story: guerilla calligraphers, amateur historians and archaeologists, and wending through it all, the King of Kowloon, a mentally ill trash collector, descended of royalty, whose iconic street art both embodied and inspired the unique identity Lim unforgettably conveys–Hong Kong as a place of disappearance and reappearance, power and powerlessness, loss and reclamation, silence and voice.