Dr Chan Hok-yin Wins the Hong Kong Book Prize 2015

May Fourth in Hong Kong—The Context, Nationalism and Local Consciousness by Dr CHAN Hok-yin has won the Hong Kong Book Prize 2015.

May Fourth in Hong Kong—The Context, Nationalism and Local Consciousness, the latest work by Dr CHAN Hok-yin, Assistant Head and Associate Professor of the Department of Chinese and History, won the Hong Kong Book Prize 2015.

In his meticulous compilation and verification of large quantities of historical materials, Dr Chan Hok-yin discovered rather serious flaws in existing narratives — in academic and school history texts — of how the May Fourth Movement developed in Hong Kong. Unlike in other major cities on the mainland, May Fourth did not generate much political or cultural response in Hong Kong. However, the May Fourth Movement became a handy tool for people of different political camps from the 1940s. People turned their interpretations of the May Fourth Movement into bases for driving social transformation. Guided by the ideologies of nationalism, anti-colonialism and local consciousness, May Fourth was used repeatedly by different political groups to mobilise people at the critical moments when political views diverse in Hong Kong. It was used to symbolise "patriotism", "national salvation", "progress", "reform" and "democracy" in various political schools of thought in order to rationalize and normalize their actions.

The work of Dr Chan does not only right the wrongs of past narratives on May Fourth in Hong Kong, it also looks at the formation of interpretive discourse on the topic. The book is a reflection on the journey of the formation of the "local history" in Hong Kong as well as its complicated relationship with "national history". The book reflects how Hong Kong and the Mainland interacted over the last century and discusses the characteristics of the city during its evolution.

First launched in 2007, the Hong Kong Book Prize is jointly organised by Radio Television Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Publishing Federation with Hong Kong Public Libraries of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department as the co-organiser. Now in its eighth year, the event attracted nominations of 436 eligible titles. Fifteen adjudicators selected 25 of these for the final round of evaluation and public voting. The panel's assessment represents 80 per cent of the final score and public voting takes up 20 per cent.

According to Dr Chan, the title May Fourth in Hong Kong – The Context, Nationalism and Local Consciousness is part of the research output of the College Research Grant Project (9610264). He is glad to receive this unexpected honour, and is particularly grateful to Chung Hwa Book Co. (H.K.) Ltd. for inviting him to publish his research findings which now receive wide recognition among academics and the public alike.