Censorship at Work: Cold War Paranoia and Purgation of Chinese Ghost Stories

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The global politics of the Cold War and its impact on the cinematic economy and cultural expressions of Chinese-language films in Hong Kong have been seriously understudied. It is largely because of insufficient attention paid to the geographical marginalities outside of Mainland China: Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia where the movie industries and film culture thrived on alternative Chinese cine-links. This chapter studies two translocal ghost narratives, Li Chenfeng’s A Beautiful Corpse Comes to Life (1956) and Li Hanxiang’s The Enchanting Shadow (1960), which reappropriated classical ghost stories adapted from Chinese vernacular literature and drama. The two striking filmic manifestations exemplify what I see as the global Cold War cultural manifestations during the 1950s and 60s. I read the ghost story renditions not only in their generic and aesthetic interests but also as contesting claims of Chineseness, in particular the ways in which the Cantonese- and Mandarin-speaking films compete for the legitimacy of Chinese identities by mobilizing traditional literary sources and cultural symbols in colonial Hong Kong.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHong Kong Culture and Society in the New Millennium
Subtitle of host publicationHong Kong as Method
EditorsYiu-Wai Chu
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789811036682
ISBN (Print)9789811036675, 9789811099366
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2017

Publication series

NameThe Humanities in Asia
ISSN (Print)2363-6890
ISSN (Electronic)2363-6904

User-Defined Keywords

  • Ming Dynasty
  • Imperial Examination
  • Cultural Nationalism
  • Chinese Identity
  • Union Film


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