Author: Man-Chung Chiu

Abstract

In Hong Kong, even though the Bill of Rights Ordinance (the localized version of ICCPR), Sex Discrimination Ordinance and a series of legal reforms were enacted and introduced respectively in 1991 and 1994, gender discrimination in legal discourse still persists. Chinese customary law, which only recognises the male's right to build small houses in the New Territories, remains an exception under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance; and the oppression of (female) sex workers is not yet recognized. Some politicians argue that discrimination is inherent in the Han-Chinese culture of harmony, which is impossible to understand from the Euro-American individual-centric perspective of gender equality. They further quote Daoist YIN-YANG cosmology where YANG/Male/Masculinity is supreme; and Confucian Constant Virtues where women are marginalized as examples showing that Han-Chinese culture, where harmony is hegemonized, cannot tolerate or accept gender equality. This paper adopts a critical perspective in examining the above arguments and points out not only that a “pure” version of patriarchal socio-legal culture in the name of harmony hegemony does not exist, but (indigenous) culture should always be meticulously and critically represented in order to reproduce “justice”. I would also argue that it is possible to scrutinize and explore the spaces of resistance within the Hong Kong Han-Chinese socio-legal culture, where foreign theories of gender justice/equality and related legal reforms can be examined.

In: Asian Journal of Social Science
Author: Man-Chung Chiu

Abstract

Hong Kong law, following the Anglo-American liberal legal private/public dichotomy, through decriminalization, imposes strict regulations on the development of the sex work industry. The legal regulations, besides failing to suppress the industry, reproduce a context where female sex workers are (re)pathologized and (re)marginalized by the mainstream patriarchal society. In the article, I will critically examine the underlying theories of the contemporary Hong Kong legal discourse from both the Lacanian psychoanalytic and Buddhist vijnanamatra perspectives, and argue that the Foucauldian resistance subverting the patriarchal agenda on the representation of the sex work industry could be reproduced and localized within the specific cultural context of Hong Kong, which is a predominately (Han-)Chinese society.

In: Asian Journal of Social Science

Abstract

As a major source of social values in East Asia, Confucianism assumes especial significance amidst the proliferation of instrumental rationality in modern societies. This study attempts to answer the question: how Confucian are contemporary Chinese? By way of constructing an ideal type of Confucian actors, which is then applied to a survey of three Chinese communities, this study tries to formulate a new perspective in depicting the character of modern Confucian actors, measured in terms of their dynamic proximity to the Confucian ideal type. Our approach marks a shift of emphasis, both empirically and methodologically, compared with previous work on this topic. On the empirical side, our study breaks with the long-standing, classical distinction between the 'gentleman' and the 'commoner' prevalent in Confucian discourse. Degrees of proximity to Confucian values are viewed in representational—i.e. non-evaluative—terms. In constructing the ideal type of Confucian actors, we distinguish between formal and substantive values in Confucianism. This analytical distinction allows our study to demonstrate the continued relevance of Confucianism. While substantive values change over time, the formal, analytical core that captures the essence of Confucianism continues to survive in the face of the vicissitudes of modernity and the spread of instrumental rationality.

In: European Journal of East Asian Studies