chapter  11
13 Pages

Contested mobilities across the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border

The case of Sheung Shui
WithJ.J. Zhang

This chapter contends that the primarily state- and human-centric literature on border studies is missing the arbitrage and materiality dimensions, which are crucial for a more nuanced understanding of contemporary contested mobilities across borders. As such, it offers a new approach to cross-border scholarship by engaging with the politics of mobility, morality and materiality. The potentiality of this approach is discussed by examining the cultural politics of cross-border consumption through shopping activities in the border town of Sheung Shui, Hong Kong. Conveniently connected to mainland China via public transport, Sheung Shui is a shopping haven for day-trippers from the neighbouring city of Shenzhen. These visitors have been blamed for overcrowding, shortage of goods, and rent hikes. Discontent amongst locals had led to several protests that were anti-mainland Chinese in general and anti-parallel traders in particular. These episodes have seen a city divided over conflicting views on the consequences of increasing social and economic integration with the mainland. By interrogating moments of contested mobilities, discussion shows how the moral dimensions of day-tripping permeate into the everyday, and weave into the fabric of contemporary socio-political life at the border.