Queering "The Children's Movement" A Sideways Look at Political Infantilization in the (post-)2014 Global Imaginary of Hong Kong Protesters

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Glq-A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies

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This essay argues that the queer figure of the child that crops up curiously in (post–)Umbrella Movement Hong Kong is a defining political signifier for characterizing the city's youthful protesters and imagining alternative futures for Hong Kong. In many mainland Chinese media outlets, the youthfulness of the Hong Kong demonstrators is often emphasized to critique their fixation on the Western ideology of democracy. For the young resisters and their sympathizers, childishness connotes a different script of identity: it entails a narrative of temporal suspension in the face of assimilation into a Chinese homogeneity. By, for example, comparing the political star Joshua Wong to Peter Pan, who refuses to grow up, or by assigning uniform-wearing grade-school students the role of “the keepers of the Umbrella Movement,” prodemocratic cultural narratives keep alive the possibility of a political alterity that resists the neoliberal, temporal mandates of Hong Kong's government and mainland China. Theorizing that possibility in the context of temporal, queer, children's, and postcolonial studies, this essay contends that the future of resistance in Hong Kong will follow a lateral horizon, a sideways course that will put minor dissenters into new and nonheteropatriarchal relations with the existing order of the city.


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