CCCH9016 China: Culture, State and Society
Hong Kong: Becoming a Chinese Global City

[This course is under the thematic cluster of ‘Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth’.]


Course Description

This course examines Hong Kong as a Chinese global city and its position in relation to the Pearl River Delta and China’s national economy. By understanding Hong Kong as both Chinese (Cantonese-speaking) by majority and a global finance centre by historical construction, students will be introduced to basic readings on urban sociology, global cities and Hong Kong studies. Students are expected to learn more about Hong Kong’s position in the Asia region and the multiple challenges facing the city, including global economics and China’s rapid development as well as current debates on democracy and civic society. This course is divided into three components with the first part focusing on the historical perspective of Hong Kong by studying the inter-relations between colonial government administration and policies, manufacturing industries and migration patterns. The second part of the course will explore the rise of the middle class and their consumption practices in the city. The complex anxieties surrounding the year 1997 will be discussed in relation to its historical significance in political, economic and socio-cultural terms. The last component of the course will investigate how Hong Kong measures up to the standards of being a Chinese global city and address future issues facing the ongoing development of Hong Kong in the larger schema of China’s global economy and its impact on local understandings / identity crises of the city’s positioning.

[There will be compulsory half-day field trips during Reading Week.]

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify the key features of Hong Kong as an Asian world city.
  2. Reflect critically upon the challenges and prospect of Hong Kong in maintaining its position as an Asian world city.
  3. Relate what has been learnt in class to daily experience.
  4. Connect the knowledge acquired in class to an analysis of Hong Kong as an Asian city in a group project report.
  5. Apply presentation skills and cooperate in group work.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Sat)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 10
Fieldwork / Visits 10
Reading / Self-study 20
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 20
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 20
Assessment: Group project 50
Total: 154

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Participation in lectures 10
Tutorial participation and presentation 20
Field trip (and reflective writing) 20
Group research project 35
Reflective writing 15

Required Reading

  • Chiu, S. W. K., & Lui, T. L. (2009). Hong Kong: Becoming a Chinese global city. London; New York: Routledge.
  • Constable, N. (1997). Sexuality and discipline among Filipina domestic workers in Hong Kong. American Ethnologist, 24(3), 539-558.
  • Goodstadt, L. F. (2013). Poverty in the midst of affluence: How Hong Kong mismanaged its prosperity. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
  • Ku, A. S. (2009). Contradictions in the development of citizenship in Hong Kong: Governance without democracy. Asian Survey, 49(3), 505-527.
  • Law, W. S. (2008). Hong Kong undercover: An approach to “collaborative colonialism”. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 9(4), 522-542.
  • Mahtani, S., & Vernon, K. (2010). Creating inclusive workplaces for LGBT employees: A resource guide for employers in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Community Business. From http://www.communitybusiness.org/images/cb/publications/2010/LGBT.pdf
  • Ngo, T. W. (1999). Hong Kong’s history: State and society under colonial rule. London; New York: Routledge.
  • Roy, A., & Ong, A. (Eds). (2011). Worlding cities: Asian experiments and the art of being global. London: Wiley-Blackwell. [Chaps. 5, 7]
  • Salaff, J. W. (1981). Working daughters of Hong Kong. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Smart, A., & Lui, T. L. (2009). Learning from civil unrest: State/society relations in Hong Kong before and after the 1967 disturbances. In R. Bickers & R. Yep (Eds.), May days in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Recommended Reading

  • Carroll, J. M. (2007). A concise history of Hong Kong. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Faure, D. (1997). Society. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
  • Goodstadt, L. F. (2005). Uneasy partners: The conflict between public interest and private profit in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
  • Lau, S. K. (1982). Society and politics in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.
  • Leung, K. P. B. (1996). Perspectives on Hong Kong society. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.
  • Mathews, G., Lui, T. L., & Ma, E. K. W. (2008). Hong Kong, China: Learning to belong to a nation. London; New York: Routledge.
  • Meyer, D. R. (2000). Hong Kong as a global metropolis. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Schenk, C. R. (2001). Hong Kong as an international financial centre: Emergence and development 1945-1965. London; New York: Routledge.
  • Scott, I. (1989). Political change and the crisis of legitimacy in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr D.T.S. Tang
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 5685
Email: denitang@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr D.T.S. Tang
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 5685
Email: denitang@hku.hk
Dr G.P.F. Wong
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 2065
Email: garypfhk@hku.hk