I have your words, that you put down on paper, But nothing at hand to return, so I write down,
papaya. I cut one open: so many Dark points, so many undefined things.
— Papaya, Leung Ping-kwan
Sharing decolonial left perspectives on Hong Kong
Lausan 流傘 is a collective of writers, researchers, activists and artists from Hong Kong and its diasporas, engaging with the city’s political struggle. Through translation, creation, and education, Lausan 流傘 aims to build solidarity on the international left with Hong Kongers’ unfinished fight to imagine emancipatory futures after colonialism, against both Chinese and Western imperialism.
‘San’ 傘 is the character for umbrella, referencing our critical engagement with Hong Kong’s ongoing movements for self-determination, including the 2014 Umbrella Movement. 流傘 is also a homophone of 流散 (diaspora/dispersal), which speaks to our location across the Hong Kong diaspora and our ambition to connect Hong Kongers’ struggles against capital, colonialism, and state power with unfolding histories of resistance around the world.
Lausan 流傘 emerged from intersecting desires we hold as Hong Kongers in the diaspora: to participate in and extend existing leftist discourses about Hong Kong; to unite in solidarity with oppressed people around the world; and to challenge what Hong Kong means as a critical perspective, as a decolonial politics, and as a home.
By taking Hong Kong as a position of critique, Lausan 流傘 aims to hold multiple imperialisms to account without oversimplification of material conditions on the ground. At this critical juncture in history, we understand that any radical imagination of Hong Kong’s future would need to center cross-border solidarities based on class struggle, migrant justice, anti-racism and feminism. To that end, we take seriously our dispersal across locally specific sites of struggle as an opportunity to link collective action against capital, colonialism, and state power in Hong Kong and unfolding histories of resistance around the world.
is often misused in Global North
discourses across the political spectrum, whether as a contrived bulwark in the
battle against communism or as a place hopelessly under the grip of colonial
and capitalist ideologies. This project is therefore also about staking a claim
for self-definition in the context of Hong Kong’s ongoing movements for
self-determination by producing original work
from a critical leftist lens, one which foregrounds the city’s complex and
sometimes contradictory terms of identity formation in place of false binaries
and reductive stereotypes.
The opportunism of these narratives often loses sight of the
lived experiences and heterogeneous interests of Hong Kong people. As an
interface between state capitalist China and the modernity of the West, Hong
Kong has been repeatedly situated in the aftermath of and in between coercive
regimes. In other words, its raison d’être has always been defined in relation
to larger structures of control. Most recently as a pawn on the chessboard of
US-China trade relations, Hong Kong’s self-determination project continues to
encounter systemic erasure. This has contributed to a critical gap of knowledge about Hong
Kong that Lausan seeks to fill through translation of Hong Kong perspectives,
original research, writing and solidarity building. Because we believe that
Hong Kong holds important clues for what a decolonised, anti-imperialist world
could look like, we translate work from Hong Kong outwards against
disappearance and misrepresentation.
As much as Lausan 流傘 emerged out of frustration with the paucity and limitations of existing leftist writing on Hong Kong, the members of this collective were also brought together by a shared connection to the place we call home. Our collaboration is rooted in a fond albeit difficult relationship with the city. Though many of us grew up in Hong Kong, our politics, lives, and personhoods found an uneasy fit—an ambivalent home—with the city as we currently know it. As we look toward a transformative politics in and beyond Hong Kong, Lausan 流傘 is committed to undoing and unlearning structures of authority reliant on capitalism, misogyny, homophobia, racism, and xenophobia.
Lausan 流傘 is a site of solace, solidarity, connection and, above all, hope in what Hong Kong can be. Our members are tied together by this hope; it informs every aspect of our translating, writing and organising. While we initially joined forces in response to the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill protests, we are driven by a shared purpose that predates the immediate circumstances of 2019 and far exceeds the confines of our collective: a determination to dismantle long-standing relations of dominance and exploitation in the wake of Chinese and Western colonial control and neoliberal capitalist accumulation—a love of our home.