Crossing Borders

Cameron White reviews The Crossing, a new film of Hong Kong

Hong Kong has reached boiling point. In June and early July, millions of young residents took to the streets, protesting a proposed law that would allow extraditions to mainland China. They say the change would undermine One Country, Two Systems, the doctrine supposed to guarantee Hong Kong a high degree of freedom in an otherwise authoritarian country.

One Country, Two Systems was first proposed by Deng Xiaoping as a theoretical model for merging mainland China and Taiwan. The vision: separate legal and economic frameworks could allow disparate regions to coexist within a single, unified China. While never implemented in the context of Taiwan, the model was used to reintegrate Hong Kong in 1997. Since then, perceived violations of that arrangement have been at the heart of nearly every major public demonstration in Hong Kong, including the 2003 protest against national security legislation, the 2012 protest against national education, the 2014 protests against Beijing’s proposed election reform package, and the 2019 protests against the extradition law.


The Lion Rock Bites

Hong Kong TV takes on the missing bookseller scandal – Cameron White

In mid-October, I was swiping through the news when a headline caught my eye: “RTHK’s Below the Lion Rock 2018 Season Opener to Revisit Causeway Bay Books Incident.” That may read like standard entertainment news, but it was anything but. RTHK – a government-financed channel – had adapted one of the most sensitive events in recent Hong Kong memory.

In 2015, five Hong Kongers went missing. They worked at Causeway Bay Books, a store known to sell tomes critical of China’s top leaders. One of men was allegedly taken from Hong Kong; if those accusations were true, it implied a violation of One Country, Two Systems, the principle supposed to guarantee Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy until 2047.


Red Dynamite

Why China’s patriotic action films are exploding in popularity – Cameron L. White

In late February, Hollywood insiders went through the routine of checking the trades for that month’s new releases. Top billing went to Black Panther, which had bagged $83 million the previous weekend. Yet the weekend’s real winner was a film most Americans had never even heard of. Raking in $106.4 million, Operation Red Sea (红海行动) had conquered global box office rankings, despite barely surpassing $1 million outside China in the same period.

Directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Dante Lam, and a loose follow-up to his previous film Operation Mekong, Operation Red Sea was inspired by the 2015 evacuation of Chinese nationals from Yemen. The film begins with the members of Jiaolong, a Chinese naval special ops force, liberating a hijacked cargo ship off the coast of Africa. From there, the plot pivots into another rescue mission.