A tale of two borderlands : material lucidity and deep play in the transborder tourism space in Hong Kong and Macao

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-206
Journal / PublicationAsian anthropology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


This article examines post-colonial “development” of cross-border tourism at two border cities of China, Hong Kong and Macao, which returned their sovereignty to China in 1997 and 1999 respectively. Instead of considering such development merely a tourism feature, the author argues that the abundance of Chinese tourists to Hong Kong and Macao has resulted from the problematic growth of China. Transborder tourism space and relations between the two cities and China have signaled developmental flaws in China. While Hong Kong has become a remedy for China’s “fake goods” market and has provided the opportunity for millions to seek “material lucidity,” Macao has come to the rescue of China’s outflow of renminibi, and acted as a space for the deep play of the risk-taking psyche of many mainland Chinese. The author concludes that these two border cities will continue to be “frontier thermometers” measuring the warm and cold “weathers” of China’s transitional political economy.

Research Area(s)

  • deep play, gaming economy, Hong Kong and Macao, material lucidity, transborder tourism