Kritika Kultura Lecture Series on Hong Kong, China, and the Philippines: Hope Amidst Crisis


Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University—in cooperation with the Chinese Studies Program (AdMU)—will host lectures on Hong Kong, China, and the Philippines. The lectures—which feature Rommel C. Banlaoi, PhD, Robin Michael U. Garcia, PhD, and Atty. Jose Duke Bagulaya—are on Oct. 8, 2019, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at 5/f Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University. The event, which is part of TALAB 2019 (Talakayang Alay sa Bayan, Ateneo@160: Agenda for Hope), is open to the public. Registration required (Eventbrite).

About the event

Recent events in Hong Kong—demonstrations triggered by the government’s controversial extradition bill, escalating clashes between police and protesters, and the occupation of the international airport—have increased awareness of a “domestic” issue that has regional if not international implications. It is crucial for us to engage with these developments, especially as they are happening in a city where around 140,000 Filipinos reside. The Kritika Kultura Lecture Series on Hong Kong, China, and the Philippines: Hope Amidst Crisis aims to cover topics such as security, Philippines-China relations, “One Country Two Systems,” and the cultural underpinnings of the protests; the lectures seek to show that even within a situation of crisis, there is hope for resistance and renewal.

About the lectures

“Hong Kong Political Crisis: Security Implications for Philippines-China Relations” by Rommel C. Banlaoi, PhD

Though the political crisis in Hong Kong is considered to be part of internal affairs of the People’s Republic of China, the issue has enormous international security implications that can affect Philippines-China relations. Home to around 140,000 Filipinos, Hong Kong is an integral part of Philippines and Chinese societies. Hong Kong has also become an important aspect of the Philippines’ political, economic, socio-cultural, and security landscapes. This paper aims to identify security issues associated with the Hong Kong political crisis and how these issues can affect current and future directions of Philippines-China bilateral ties.

“Defensive Realism and China’s Foreign Policy Towards Hong Kong” by Robin Michael U. Garcia, PhD

The debate over whether China is revisionist or status quo power can be reduced to whether China is a defensive realist or offensive realist state (Tang, 2007). Defensive realist states believe in the possibility of compromise and cooperation in central issues such as territorial disputes. However, a puzzle seems to be apparent in China’s history of territorial disputes. China has never compromised over what Fravel (2009) calls “homeland disputes”: disputes over Taiwan, Macao and Hong Kong. This record is contrast to “frontier disputes” where China comprised in all instances. This paper examines this empirical puzzle and explores the issue of whether China is a defensive realist state in light of the recent issue over Hong Kong.

“The Dialectic of Cultural Identity Preservation and Yearnings for Democratic Ideals in the Hong Kong Basic Law” by Atty. Jose Duke Bagulaya

This paper argues that in order to understand the explosive protests that have been rocking Hong Kong in the past three months, one must appreciate the complex and multi-faceted dimensions of their roots. For a more comprehensive and incisive understanding of this phenomenon, one must consider other aspects such as the role of culture and cultural forms; in particular, the role of the distinctive cultural identity of the Hong Kong people embodied in their language, literature, and films. Once a colonial enclave of an expanding British imperialism, the island has preserved its distinct language, developed its own literature, and has produced a number of internationally renowned artists ranging from Louis Cha to Wong Kai War. But underpinning the Hong Kong people’s cultural identity upon which hinges its power and meaning is the fundamental belief in the guarantees of the law. In Hong Kong’s Basic Law, it is stated that the island’s “way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years” (Art. 5), therefore inscribing in it a double-protection: the people’s belief in the law’s guarantees even as it also basically assures the preservation of the cultural identity of the Hong Kong people. The HK Basic Law, as generally known, is technically a statute passed by China’s National People’s Congress, which is in itself a unique document that adopts many provisions stated in the UK-China Declaration and has been read as a constitution. More importantly, however, the document contains not just the assurance of the preservation of a cultural identity and a guarantee to “exercise a high degree of autonomy” (Art. 2) but also the promise of the higher ideal of electing the Chief Executive and all members of the legislative council by “universal suffrage” (Arts. 45 and 68). Thus, the ongoing pro-democracy protests at once spring from the dialectic of a threat of loss of cultural identity—Hong Kong’s way of life—and the frustrated yearnings for the democratic ideal of universal suffrage, suggesting that in the issue of the Hong Kong crisis, there is not a single spark that causes the prairie fire.

About the resource persons

Rommel C. Banlaoi, PhD, is currently the President of the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies (PACS) and a member of the Management Board of the World Association for Chinese Studies (WACS). He is a Professorial Lecturer at the Department of International Studies, Miriam College, the Philippines and Chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR). He is a member of the Board of Directors of the China-Southeast Asia Research Center on the South China Sea (CSARC), a member of the International Panel of Expert of the Maritime Awareness Project (MAP) of the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) and Sasakawa Peace Foundation, and an Adjunct Research Professor at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies (NISCSS). He finished his BA and MA in Political Science at the University of the Philippines where he also took his PhD in Political Science (ABD). He obtained his PhD in International Relations at Jinan University, Guangzhou, China.

Robin Michael U. Garcia, PhD, is a political scientist, university lecturer, and entrepreneur. He is currently a lecturer in international politics at the graduate school of the University of Asia & the Pacific’s School of Law and Governance. In 2017, he founded Warwick & Roger, a Manila-based political affairs consulting firm that provides data analytics-driven solutions and strategies for governments as well as political economic advisory for corporations and electoral aspirants, with presence in Australia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. His academic scholarly work focuses on international political economy and international relations theory applied to Southeast Asian countries and China. Garcia has appeared to provide thought leadership in print and news media having been published locally and internationally such as The National Interest, Eurasia Review, Rappler, CNN, Indus News Pakistan and Bloomberg. Previously, he has advised top multinational companies on political economic developments in the Philippines and the region as well as worked at legislative and political organizations. He has also previously lectured on development theory, political economy, public policy and international relations at De La Salle University and the University of the Philippines Diliman. He earned a PhD in International Politics with a Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA) of Fudan University in Shanghai, China in 2017. He also holds a Master of Public Administration with honors from the University of the Philippines’ National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) in 2013 as well as a BA in Development Studies from De La Salle University in 2010.

Atty. Jose Duke Bagulaya is a PhD candidate at the University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law and Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He is the author of Writing Literary History: Mode of Production and 20th Century Waray Poetry and Linara nga mga Pulong: Mga Siday (Bound Words: Poems), both published by University of the Philippines Press. He has participated in cause-oriented litigation, particularly in the Martial Law case of Lagman v. Executive Secretary and People v. Celdran. His legal writings include “ASEAN as Wayang Kulit,” Asian Journal of International Law (Cambridge UP, 2019) and “A People’s Reading of the ASEAN Charter,” Asian Journal of Law and Society (Cambridge UP, in press).

About Kritika Kultura

Kritika Kultura is acknowledged by a host of Asian and Asian American Studies libraries and scholarly networks, and indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, Arts and Humanities Citation Index (Clarivate), Scopus, EBSCO, the Directory of Open Access Journals, and the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP). For inquiries about submission guidelines and future events, visit http://journals.ateneo.edu/ojs/kk or email kk.soh@ateneo.edu.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *