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The Third Force and exiled Chinese intellectuals in Hong Kong: 1950-1963


The Third Force and exiled Chinese intellectuals in Hong Kong: 1950-1963

Hong Kong Studies Lecture by Angelina Chin (Pomona College) with commentary by Leo Chu


Friday, December 11, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM (Pacific Time)
Live via Zoom


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The Third Force is a little-known political movement based in Hong Kong during the Cold War era. Formed primarily by male intellectuals who escaped to Hong Kong in the late 1940s, the Third Force in Hong Kong relied on overseas connections, using limited funds to operate publications and arrange meetings.  Members of the third force shared a sense of disillusionment with both the CCP and the GMD and perceived the colonized city of Hong Kong as a refuge in which they could organize dissident political activities and articulate their visions for a better China. Unlike the refugees who later settled in Hong Kong, however, these activists seldom referred to Hong Kong as their “home.” Examining the publications published by the Third Force alliance, this presentation analyzes how Hong Kong functioned as an international production center for cultural and political critiques of China. Although the movement only had few tangible political accomplishments before its disappearance in the mid-1960s, its work in shaping the diasporic aspirations for democracy inspired the minds of future generations of activists in Hong Kong and abroad.

Angelina Chin is Associate Professor of History at Pomona College. Her research focuses on transformations of urban identity and citizenship, as well as transregional connections in Hong Kong, Taiwan and South China. Her 2012 book, Bound to Emancipate: Working Women and Urban Citizenship in Early Twentieth-Century China and Hong Kong, explored the concept of “women’s emancipation” in South China, and the new concerns about such issues as identity, consumption, governance and mobility that the process helped to trigger. She is currently working on a project on postcolonial memory and diasporic nostalgia of Chinese refugees from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Leo Chu was born in Shanghai in 1942. He moved to Hong Kong in the early 1950s and was raised there, where he began his career in the family-owned textile business in 1964. Mr. Chu and his wife, Ivy, immigrated to the US in 1975 and settled in Los Angeles. He was a successful entrepreneur, first running the apparel company, California Ivy, Inc. until 1994 and then the Hollywood Park Casino from 1999 to 2013. Presently, Mr. Chu sits on several boards, including the Special Olympics Southern California and the USC Keck School of Medicine’s international medicine department. He is fluent in English as well as in three Chinese dialects.

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For questions about the event, please contact asia@international.ucla.edu

Sponsor(s): Asia Pacific Center