"[W]hereas queer politics confronts the mainstream by taking back a bigoted label, tongzhi harmonizes social relationships by taking the most sacred title from the mainstream culture. [...] '[T]ongzhi penetrates and appropriates the core of the mainstream[,] [...] queering and destabilizing rather than antagonizing and essentializing the supposedly straight world." – Chou Wah-shan, Tongzhi: Politics of Same-Sex Eroticism in Chinese Societies
In December 1996, six months before the end of British rule, hundreds of Chinese tongzhi gathered in Hong Kong to renounce the individualistic and countercultural politics of the Western LGBT movement – affirming an indigenous “queer” identity of their own that upheld traditional Chinese values such as family and social harmony. Less than two decades later, in September 2014, Hong Kong’s streets were flooded with protesters condemning the Chinese Communist Party’s pre-screening of electoral candidates as restrictive and a violation of the city’s autonomy. Both the 1996 Chinese Tongzhi Conference and the 2014 Umbrella Movement demonstrated the interplay of civic values, community solidarity, and international influence in Hong Kong.
"What do we want? Equal rights!." Time Out Hong Kong. Accessed January 30, 2017. http://timeout-test.candrholdings.com/gay-lesbian/features/54545/what-do-we-want-equal-rights.html.
"Vietnam Modern Art." Matiengartist. Accessed January 23, 2017. https://mavantiengartist.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/m%E1%BB%B9-thu%E1%BA%ADt-vi%E1%BB%87t-nam-hi%E1%BB%87n-d%E1%BA%A1i.
The imperial gaze, ironically, was coined as a concept in 1997 by a white female film theorist. It describes a process of othering and ethnocentric redefinition, wherein the Other is described and judged in terms familiar and convenient to the privileged. In this way, the western viewer is made the central subject of the narrative, while the Other is made the secondary object (regardless of the attention afforded them) (78). As such, orientalism (or the post-colonial gaze) captures the specific manner in which colonial powers constructed their identities – dependent on their position within a global hegemony of power. In the first chapter of her book, Kaplan (the aforementioned scholar) introduces an interracial "gaze structure" (4) parallel to that of the male gaze. Without dwelling on the intersections of the two, and by adapting bell hooks' concept of Black women's oppositional gaze (intended to disrupt white spectatorship), Kaplan frames her work: "What happens when white people look at non-whites? What happens when the look is returned [...] startl[ing] whites into knowledge of their whiteness?" (4).