Crowd Control and Mobilization with Nature in the China–Hong Kong Context

Kwai-Cheung Lo*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


    This essay examines how crowd empowerment and its control inscribe the agency of nonhuman nature in the social movement and the governmental strategy within the context of China–Hong Kong connections. Concerning the 2019 Hong Kong protest movement, it examines how the agency is dispersed among the interactions of human crowds and nonhuman forces in particular environments. Humans look to nature as a source of inspiration for their conduct, even if nature is never one thing. As the notions of nature are mediated by culturally specific prejudices, people only talk about their society's ideas about nature when they talk about “nature” and any appeals to nature are highly ideological. In the first part, the essay discusses the excessive use of tear gas to weaponize the atmosphere functions as a medium and message that articulates a communicative politics connecting the protesters and the larger community for interaffective attunement. The atmospheric change unravels an attunement to possibilities opening to some people who throw themselves to be affected and push a situation into an event. In the second part, the essay analyzes how the collective climbing of Lion Rock, a mountain symbolizing the ethos and values of the Hong Kong community, during the protest movement transcends the physical limitation of the protesters’ perception to an expanded view and a higher status beyond human to confront a changing and incommensurable world below.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)318-332
    Number of pages15
    JournalCultural Politics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Arts and Humanities(all)


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