Blowing in the China wind: Engagements with Chineseness in Hong Kong's zhongguofeng music videos

Yiu Fai CHOW, Jeroen de Kloet

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    While songs with distinct Chinese characteristics, whether musically or lyrically, have always been part of local pop history, "China Wind" (zhongguofeng) is a novel phenomenon. Above all, China Wind owes its production and circulation as a discursive formation to its endorsement by mainstream artists, notably from Taiwan, as much as to its popularity among audiences in Greater China. While China Wind pop is yet to be systematically documented, researched and analyzed, popular and media attention has generally focused on Taiwan-based artists and lyrics. In this essay, rather than focusing on what is considered the main source of China Wind songs, namely Taiwan, we have chosen China Wind songs that originated from Hong Kong and their music videos as the primary subject of enquiry. Our central concern is, how do Hong Kong's China Wind music videos engage with hegemonic versions of Chineseness? The choice of Hong Kong is informed by our empirical interest in the complex entanglement of cultural and political power in which the postcolonial city is presumably going through. At the same time it is, in theory and in praxis, a correspondence with the ongoing debates on Chineseness-debates on not only what but also who defines it. Our analyses show that while Hong Kong's China Wind pop evokes Chineseness, it also undermines it in two major ways: first, to render Chineseness as distant gaze, as ambiguous space and as ongoing struggles; and secondly, its feminization of Chineseness, opening up a space for questions on history and gender performance. In other words, the Hong Kong China Wind we have analyzed here articulates something quite different from a triumphalist celebration of Chinese tradition, value and culture. If China Wind as a whole is a culturalist project to rewrite Chineseness in an authentic, monolithic and indisputable way, Hong Kong's variant, we argue, is resisting.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)59-76
    Number of pages18
    JournalVisual Anthropology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • Anthropology


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