Hong Kong’s Edward Snowden/Edward Snowden’s Hong Kong

  • Jeffrey Clapp


Edward Snowden’s passage through Hong Kong in June 2013 offered commentators, filmmakers, and journalists an uncanny repetition of the longstanding tropes of “cyberpunk,” which staged dramas of surveillance, paranoia, and information within Asian urban spaces. Clapp shows that accounts of Snowden’s actions persistently reproduced that techno-orientalist gesture. Yet in rereading cyberpunk with Snowden’s quest for asylum in mind, Clapp also discovers that while these texts often framed Hong Kong as a glitzy simulacrum or anarchic redoubt, they also described the city as a site of legalistic, bureaucratic modernity. In this way, it becomes possible to read the rhetoric of diplomats, lawyers, and law enforcement agencies around the Snowden affair alongside canonical postmodern texts to reveal a surprisingly uniform, if paradoxical, image of Hong Kong.


Edward Snowden Cyberpunk Techno-orientalism Surveillance Bureaucracy 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey Clapp
    • 1
  1. 1.Education University of Hong KongTai PoHong Kong

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