Introduction ‘1968’, the year that rocked the world, was marked by a profusion of protests and student movements, which led to social, political and cultural change worldwide. Asia was not untouched by the zeitgeist and was ‘rocked’ by different upheavals. In the People’s Republic of China, or PRC, there was a decade-long Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, and even though the Cultural Revolution was not directly related to the protests in the West due to communist China’s isolation, there are some striking commonalities between the Cultural Revolution and the phenomenon of ‘1968’. In the then British colony Hong Kong, there were two unprecedented riots in 1966 and 1967, which some commentators attributed to the supporters of the Cultural Revolution. Whether or not the unrest in the PRC and Hong Kong was directly related to the Western ‘1968’ is perhaps not as important as the fact that it also led to profound social and cultural change. The events of ‘1968’ led to the development of countercultures and generational clashes, and also had a profound impact on gender relationships, not only in the West but also in the East. New gender-related ideals were captured in political and social movements but they were also evident in cultural forms such as music, films, novels and periodicals. As Frazier and Cohen point out, aesthetics and models of countercultural mobilisation and political change not only circulated (albeit unevenly) across continents but […] they were themselves gendered and sexualised. Juxtaposing political processes with gender and sexuality […] allows us to tease out the ways in which the often contradictory practices of the sixties relied on gender, sex, and sexuality, intertwined with liberatory political projects.
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