MANDARIN DISCRIMINATION IN HONG KONG: FOUR MAINLAND CHINESE SOJOURN TEACHERS’ EXPERIENCE OF SYMBOLIC VIOLENCE
Keywords:Mandarin discrimination, symbolic violence, anti-colonialism, Hong Kong
Thesis. After the handover of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to China in 1997, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government stipulated a trilingual (English, Cantonese, and Mandarin) and biliterate (English and Chinese) policy, in order to include Mandarin as an additional co-official language together with the original English and Cantonese. Until the handover, the use of Mandarin was restricted in British colonial Hong Kong. Since the handover, however, Mandarin and its users have experienced some resistance by local Hong Kong people.
Method. In an attempt to better understand this resistance and its implications, this study adopts Pierre Bourdieu’s field, habitus, and capital theory, to analyse the anti-Mandarin discourse that has prevailed in the ensuing two decades. Via narrative inquiry, this study explains the habitus of four Mandarin speaking teachers, while especially noting their clashes with the anti-Mandarin discourse, and the symbolic violence they suffered in the field.
Conclusion. The study concludes with a reflection on the clash between the teachers’ struggles with the discourse from a postcolonial perspective, and it also considers the legal issues involved in protecting mainland Chinese as a minority in Hong Kong.
Adamson, B. & Lai. W.A. (1997). Language and the curriculum in Hong Kong: dilemmas
of triglossia. In M. Bray & W.O. Lee (Eds.), Education and political transition: implications of Hong Kong’s change of sovereignty (pp. 87–100). Hong Kong: The University of Hong Kong.
Asante, M.K. (2006). Foreword. In G.J.S.Dei & A. Kempf (Eds.), Anti-Colonialism and
Education (pp. ix-x). Rotterdam, Holland: Sense Publisher.
Bacon-Shone, J. & Bolton, K. (1998). Charting Multilingualism: Language Censuses and
Language Surveys in Hong Kong. In M.C. Pennington (Ed.). Language in Hong Kong at Century’s End (pp. 43-90). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Becker, G.S. (2006). The Age of Human Capital. In H. Lauder, P. Brown, J.-A.
Dillabough, & A.H. Halsey (Eds.), Education, Globalization & Social Change (pp.292-94). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Bolton, K. (2011). Language Policy and Planning in Hong Kong: Colonial and post-
colonial perspectives. Applied Linguistics Review, 2, 51-74.
Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction. Cambridge: Polity.
Bourdieu, P. (1986). The Production of Belief: Contribution to an Economy of Symbolic
Goods. In R. Collins, J. Curran, N. Gambam, & P. Scannell (Eds.), Media, Culture and Society. London: SAGE.
Bourdieu, P. (1994). In Other Words: Essays Towards a Reflexive Sociology. Cambridge:
Bourdieu, P. (1998). On Television and Journalism. London: Pluto.
Bourdieu, P. (1999). Postscript. In P. Bourdieu, A. Accardo, G. Balazs, S. Beaud, F.
Bonvin, E. Bourdieu, P. Bourgois, S. Broccolichi, P. Champagne, R. Christin, J.-P. Faguer, S. Garcia, R. Lenoir, F. CEuvrard, M. Pialoux, L. Pinto, D. Podalydes, A. Sayad, C. Soulie & L.J.D. Wacquant (Eds.). The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society (pp. 627-629). California: Stanford University Press.
Bourdieu, P. (2004). Science of Science and Reflexivity. Cambridge: Polity.
Bourdieu, P. (2005). The Social Structures of the Economy. Cambridge: Polity.
Bourdieu, P. & Passeron, J.C. (1990). Reproduction in Education, Society, and Culture.
London: SAGE Publications.
Bhabha, H.K. (1994). Remembering Fanon: Self, Psyche and the Colonial Condition. In
P. Williams & L. Chrisman (Eds), Colonial Discourse and Postcolonial Theory, (pp. 112–123). New York: Columbia University Press.
Carroll, J. M. (2007). A Concise History of Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong
Chan, C.K. (2014). China as “Other”: Resistance to and ambivalence toward national
identity in Hong Kong. China perspectives, Special Issue, 25-34.
Chan, A. C. M., Cheung, S.Y. L. & Lai, T.C.K. (2014). Widening of a Poverty Gap: A
Condition of Governance Crisis in Hong Kong. Advances in Applied Sociology, 4, 69-84.
Chan Lau, K.-c. (1994). Hong Kong in Sino-British Diplomacy, 1926-1945. In M.K.
Chan (Ed.), Precarious Balance: Hong Kong Between China and Britain, 1842-1992, (pp. 71-89). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Champagne, P. (1999). The View from the Media. In P. Bourdieu, A. Accardo, G.
Balazs, S. Beaud, F. Bonvin, E. Bourdieu, P. Bourgois, S. Broccolichi, P. Champagne, R. Christin, J.-P. Faguer, S. Garcia, R. Lenoir, F. CEuvrard, M. Pialoux, L. Pinto, D. Podalydes, A. Sayad, C. Soulie & L.J.D. Wacquant (Eds.). The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society (pp. 46-59). California: Stanford University Press.
Cheng, J.Y.-s.(2014). The Emergence of Radical Politics in Hong Kong: Causes and
Impact. The China Review, 14(1), 199-232.
Dei, G.J.S. (2006). Introduction: Mapping the Terrain - Towards a New Politics of
Resistance. In G.J.S. Dei & A.Kempf (Eds.), Anti-Colonialism and Education (pp.25-42). Rotterdam: Sense Publisher.
Feng, H.L. (2018, Oct, 12th). Gangdui youyisai zaiyou qiumi xuguoge shimin:guogefa
lifa keburonghuan, [There are again football fans booed at the national anthems in the friendly match. Citizens: The National Anthem Law is inevitable]. Da Gong Bao. Retrieved from: http://www.takungpao.com/news/232109/2018/1012/188123.html.
Flowerdew, J., Li, D. C., & Tran, S. (2002). Discriminatory news discourse: some Hong
Kong data. Discourse & Society, 13(3), 319-345.
Gajek, K. (2014). Auto/narrative as a means of structur- ing human experience. In M.
Kafar & M. Modrzejewska-Swigulska (Eds.), Autobiography- biography-narration research practice for biographi- cal perspectives (pp. 11–32). Krakow, Poland: Jagiellonian University Press.
Geertz, C. (2000). Local knowledge: Further essays in interpretive anthropology. New
York: Basic Books.
Giroux, H. (2002). Neoliberalism, corporate culture, and the promise of higher
education: The university as a democratic public sphere. Harvard educational review, 72(4), 425-464.
Gordon, M., MA, E. K.-W., & Lui, T.-L. (2008). Hong Kong, China: Learning to belong
to a nation. London: Routledge.
Green, A. (2006). Education, Globalization, and the Nation State. In H. Lauder, P.
Brown, J-A. Dillabough. & A.H. Halsey (Eds.) Education, Globalization & Social Change (pp.192-197). Oxford, UK: The Oxford University Press.
Gu, M. & Tong, H. K. (2012). Space, scale and languages: Identity construction of cross-
boundary students in a multilingual university in Hong Kong. Language and Education, 26(6), 501-515.
Gu, M. & Qu, X.D. (2015). Ideological disqualification in language use: being
newcomers in primary education. Research Papers in Education, 30(4), 506-522.
Gulliver, T. (2010). Immigrant success stories in ESL textbooks. TESOL
Quarterly, 44(4), 725-745.
Hai, S.W. (2016, Oct, 20th). Gangdu Yiyuan Qing buyao Wuru Zhongguoren, [Please do
not humiliate Chinese, the Pro-Hong Kong Independence Legislator]. On.cc. Retrieved from: https://hk.on.cc/cn/bkn/cnt/commentary/20161020/bkncn-20161020000417343-1020_05411_001_cn.html.
HKU POP (2018, June, 19th). HKU POP releases survey on Hong Kong people's ethnic
identity and ratings of the best fast food restaurants. Retrieved from: https://www.hkupop.hku.hk/english/release/release1533.html.
Ho, O.H.-k. (2009). China: The Process of Decolonization in the case of Hong Kong. In
P. Gassert & M. Klimke (Eds.), 1968-Memories and Legacies of a global revolt (pp. 79-82). German Historical Institute.
Ho, P. S. Y., Ho, C. K. I., Wong, W. C. W., & Pau, A. M. Y. (2014). The seven-year
struggle: injustices at home for Chinese immigrant women in Hong Kong. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 15(1), 154-163.
Holland, J., Ramazanoglu, C., Sharpe, C., & Thomson, R. (1998). The male in the head:
Young people, hetero-sexuality and power. London: Tufnell Press.
Holmes, J. (2008). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Harlow, UK: Pearson, Longman.
Hong, Y.-Y., Coleman, J., Chan, G., Wong, R. Y. M., Chiu, C., Hansen, I. G., … Fu, H.-
Y. (2004). Predicting Intergroup Bias: The Interactive Effects of Implicit Theory and Social Identity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30(8), 1035–1047.
Hui-Dai, M.T. (2015). Xinshiye Tongshijiaoyu: Jinrixianggang [New Horizon Liberal
Education Today’s Hong Kong]. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Educational Publication Company.
Kung, P. C.L. (2013). The prejudicial portrayal of immigrant families from mainland
China in Hong Kong media. In K. B. Chan (Ed.), International Handbook of Chinese Families (pp.211-227). New York: Springer.
Lai, P.-S. & Bryam, M. (2006). The Politics of Bilingualism: A Reproduction Analysis
of the Policy of Mother Tongue Education in Hong Kong after 1997. In H. Lauder, P. Brown, J-A. Dillabough. &A.H. Halsey (Eds.) Education, Globalization & Social Change (pp.490-504). Oxford, UK: The Oxford University Press.
Lau, T. C. S. (2018). Hegemony and the politics of education in Hong Kong: from the
post-war era to the post-handover era. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 50(4), 241-255.
Lee, K.-m. & Law. K.-y (2014). Colonialism, Sinicization and Ethnic Minorities in Hong
Kong: Social exclusion and barely citizenship. In N.Vasu, Y. Chin & K.-y. Law (Eds.), Nations, National Narratives and Communities in the Asia-Pacific (pp. 111-141). London: Routledge.
Li, M. (2016). Pluralistic ignorance in Sino-Hong Kong conflicts: the perception of
mainland Chinese people living in Hong Kong. Chinese Journal of Communication, 9(2), 153-172.
Loomba, A. (1998). Colonialism/Postcolonialism. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Lowe, J. & Tsang, E.Y.-h (2017). Disunited in ethnicity: the racialization of Chinese
Mainlanders in Hong Kong. Patterns of Prejudice, 51(2), 137-158.
Luk, B. H. K. (1991). Chinese culture in the Hong Kong curriculum: heritage and
colonialism. Comparative Education Review, 35(4), 650-668.
Marcuse, H. (1991). One Dimensional Man. London: Routledge.
Michael, A. W., & Christian-Smith, L. (1991). The Politics of The Textbook, Routledge,
Mizuoka, F. (2014). Contriving ‘laissez-faire’: Conceptualising the British colonial rule
of Hong Kong. City, Culture and Society, 5, 23-32.
Myers, D.G. & Spencer, S.J. (2005). Prejudice: Disliking Others. In D.G. Myers (Ed.),
Social Psychology (pp. 331-377). Boston: McGraw Hill.
Oxfam (2018). Hong Kong Inequality Report. Retrieve from:
People’s Daily (2019, Sep.13th). Xianggang Tongshi Jiaoyu Shishihou jianshil [It is time
to review the liberal Education of Hong Kong]. Retrieved from: https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1644565059357914203&wfr=spider&for=pc.
Pierson, H. (1992). Cantonese, English, or Putonghua-Unresolved Communicative Issue
in Hong Kong’s Future. In G.A. Postiglione (Ed.), Education and Society in Hong Kong (pp.183-2020). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Schubert, J. D. (2008). Suffering/Symbolic Violence. In M. Grenfell (Ed.), Pierre
Bourdieu: Key Concepts (pp. 183-198). Durham, UK: ACUMEN.
Singh, I. (1999). Language and Ethnicity. In L. Thomas & S. Wareing (Eds.), Language,
Society and Power: An Introduction (pp. 83-97). London: Routledge.
Speakout (2019, Jan, 17th). Guoxing Mao Meng Jing! Mu Zhun Ren Jiang Putonghua?
[Awaking Mao Meng Jing! Forbidding others speaking Putonghua?] Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ0Sg2PAcSo.
Squire, C., Davis, M., Esin, C., Andrews, M., Harrison, B., Hyden, L.-C., & Hyden, M.
(2014). What is narrative research? London: Bloomsbury.
Sylvester, C. (2017). Post-colonialism. In J. Baylis, S. Smith, & P. Owens (Eds.), The
Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations (pp.174-188). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Tang, J.T.H. (1994). World War to Cold War: Hong Kong’s Future and Anglo-Chinese
Interaction, 1941-55. In M.K. Chan (Ed.), Precarious Balance: Hong Kong Between China and Britain, 1842-1992 (pp. 107-129). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
The World Bank (2012). GDP per Capita (Current US$). Retrieve from:
Thomas, L. (1999). Attitudes to Language. In L. Thomas & S. Wareing (Eds.),
Language, Society and Power: An Introduction (pp. 173-188). London: Routledge.
Thompson, J.B. (1991). Editor’s Introduction. In P. Bourdieu. & J.B. Thompson (Eds.),
Language and Symbolic Power (pp. 1-31). Cambridge: Polity Press.
Thompson, P. (2008). Field. In M. Grenfell (Ed.), Pierre Bourdieu: Key Concepts (pp.
-81). Durham, UK: ACUMEN.
Thornborrow, J. (1999). Language and Identity. In L. Thomas & S. Wareing (Eds.),
Language, Society and Power: An Introduction (pp. 135-149). London: Routledge.
Tsai, J.-f. (1994). From Antiforeignism to Popular Nationalism: Hong Kong between
China and Britain, 1839-1911. In M.K. Chan (Ed.), Precarious Balance: Hong Kong Between China and Britain, 1842-1992, (pp. 9-25). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Turner, J.C. (1984). Social identification and psychological group formation. In H. Taifel
(Ed.), The Social dimensions: European developments in social psychology (p. 351). London: Cambridge University Press.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2011). Human Development Report
New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
United Nations Human Settlement Programme (2008). States of the World’s Cities
/2009: Harmonious cities. London: Earthscan.
Wang, C. (2006). Locating Hong Kong in the global networks of professional migrants.
The Journal of Comparative Asian Development, 5(2), 329-344.
Wang, D.J. (2014). Guanhua, Guoyu and Putonghua: Politics and the Modification of
Standard Language in Modern China. Academic Monthly, 46(2), 155-170.
Wang, L., & Kirkpatrick, A. (2015). Trilingual education in Hong Kong primary schools:
an overview. Multilingual Education, 5(1), 1-26.
Wang, L.X. & Kirkpatrick, A. (2018). Students’ and parents’ perceptions of trilingual
education in Hong Kong primary schools. International Journal of Multilingualism, Online First, 1-18.
Wong, A.D. (2016). On the Iconization of Simplified Chinese. Journal of Linguistic
Anthropology, 26(2), 184-203.
Wong, T. H. (2005). Comparing state hegemonies: Chinese universities in postwar
Singapore and Hong Kong. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 26(2), 199-218.
Wong, T. H. (2012). De-Universalizing Hegemonies: Chinese School Policies in Postwar
Singapore and Hong Kong. Multicultural Education Review, 4(1), 90-118.=
Wong, T. H. (2017). Nine Lectures on Critical Sociology of Education. Beijing: Social
Sciences Academic Press (China).
Xiaosi (2015). Xianggang Wenxue Sanbu, [Walking in the Literature of Hong Kong].
Shanghai, China: Shanghai Translation Publishing House.
Ye, B. H., Qiu, H. Z., & Yuen, P. P. (2011). Motivations and experiences of Mainland
Chinese medical tourists in Hong Kong. Tourism Management, 32(5), 1125-1127.
Yip, K.Y. (2013, April, 19th). Xiang gang Zhimindi Jiaoyu. [Education in Colony Hong
Kong]. Spark. Retrieved from: https://sparkpost.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/colonial-education/.
Young, J.D. (1994). The Building Years: Maintaining a China-Hong Kong- Britain
Equilibrium, 1950-71. In M.K. Chan (Ed.), Precarious Balance: Hong Kong Between China and Britain, 1842-1992, (pp. 131-147). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Yu, F.-L.T. & Kwan, D.S. (2017). Social Construction of National Reality: Chinese
Consciousness versusn Hong Kong Conciousness. Contemporary Chinese Political Economy and Strategic Relations: An International Journal. 3(2), 657-686.
Zhang, J. J., Wong, P. P. Y., & Lai, P. C. (2018). A geographic analysis of hosts'
irritation levels towards mainland Chinese cross-border day-trippers. Tourism Management, 68, 367-374.
Zhang, X.D. & Jing, F.Z. (2011). Qingmo minchu yuyan Biange zhong de guojia yishi.
[The sense of nation in the language reform at the interchange between late Qing Dynasty and the start of the Republic of China]. Shehui Kexue Luntan, 8, 48-57.
How to Cite
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. All authors agree for publishing their email adresses, affiliations and short bio statements with their articles during the submission process.