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Introduction

This essay discusses digital photographic manipulations that emerged from and acted as direct responses to the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, in 2014, in relationship to participatory culture and digital humanities. These digital photographic images are known as “derivative works” (二次創作 ji6ci3cong3zok3, translated as “secondary creation”).

In Hong Kong, “derivative work” is a blanket term to define creative art that modifies, appropriates, and/or adapts an earlier work. Derivative work is not a reproduction of the original; instead, the intention of the secondary image is to parody and comment visually on an event or to caricature a public political figure.

Derivative work has become a popular instrument among amateur image-makers. It does not require a person to take a picture. Rather, s/he produces a photographic creation by collecting images from the internet and then collaging the found images in image-manipulation software. The secondary creation will then be uploaded to social-media platforms or to online discussion forums for dissemination; simply put, it then goes viral.

Derivative work may draw visual and semiotic meanings from the originals, but just as likely an original could be irrelevant to the new meaning. Authorship is an ambiguous notion here, as the creator is anonymous. Even with a cyber identity attributed to the work, the virtual identity is dubious and not under the jurisdiction of Hong King’s copyright laws. In any case, there is not yet a clear way to determine how to make someone accountable for derivative work.

This type of work has become a widespread method of communication, particularly powerful in grassroots movements. With the recent political upheavals, the aim of many series of images is to antagonize those who hold positions of authority. Their subversive nature, then, requires us to critically examine the rhetoric of derivative work, its relevance to both digital and participatory culture, and the impact it may have on the future of imaging.

The Umbrella Movement

The Umbrella Movement, also known as the Umbrella Revolution (September 26– December 15, 2014), was a grassroots, pro-democratic protest in reaction to restrictions to proposed electoral reform (the Chief Executive was to be elected by universal suffrage in 2017) by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on August 31, 2014, in China. In Hong Kong, civil discontent began to build soon after the announcement.

Within a month, two student organizations, Scholarism and the Hong Kong Federation of Students, initiated the Class Boycott campaign and called for universal suffrage through civic nomination in the 2017 election for Chief Executive of Hong Kong. The student strike began at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on September 22, 2014, and within four days the campaign had developed into a citywide student strike.

On September 26, student activists, public intellectuals, pro-democrats, and fellow Hong Kong citizens congregated at the Central Government Complex, Admiralty. On the twenty-eighth, police used tear gas on the protesters there, which brought about widespread civil anger, with the result that a social movement consolidated. Within two weeks, major roads in commercial centers such as Admiralty, Causeway Bay, Mong Kok, and then Tsim Sha Tsui were occupied. The strategy gave rise to another name, the “Occupy Movement.”

Derivative work and advocacy journalism have developed much appeal among Hong Kong citizens due to cynicism about the objectivity of mainstream journalism there. But the satirical and entertaining nature of derivative works also attracts people who are less concerned with current affairs and politics. In less than a three-month period, thousands and thousands of photographic images related to the Umbrella Movement were created, captured, circulated, and transformed in online discussion forums (e.g., www.hkgolden.com) and social-media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). Apart from news pictures and live-stream videos by photojournalists and videographers who witnessed and recorded the public event, an even larger proportion of images was created by anonymous netizens: that is, citizens who are active in the virtual communities.

Netizens grasped images from news pictures, or through screen captures of visual materials from current affairs and popular culture sites, and merged them into new expressions for the purposes of parody (or kuso くそ, a term borrowed from Japanese popular culture to describe parodic expression on the internet). Legislators, government officials, and political leaders associated with the electoral reform were targets of parody.

Derivative work does not generally occur in print, broadcast, or other traditional mass media. Rather, it emerges, resides, evolves, and spreads in virtual space. The digital circulation and the viral spread create a more pervasive and deeper impact than do the traditional mass media. This decentralized means of image and information dissemination in the public sphere accentuates the emergence of participatory culture in the twenty-first century. Derivative work has become a ubiquitous aesthetic, cultural, social, and political phenomenon that defines contemporary photographic practice and digital culture today. In 2014 Hong Kong, it also furthered the spirit of the grassroots occupy movement.

Out of countless images on the internet related to and resulting from the Umbrella Movement, I will discuss a selection of derivative works. The examples will address the emergence, production, operation, and use of derivative works, all of which change profoundly the notion of propaganda and shape a participatory propagandist model. The discussion begins at the moment when Xi Jinping, the president of the People’s Republic of China, made an appearance at the occupy sites in Hong Kong.

He Is Not There but There: The Making of Xi Jinping at the Occupy Sites in Hong Kong

Why this civil protest in Hong Kong was named the “Umbrella” Revolution is well illustrated by an iconic Time magazine cover. On September 28, 2014, Hong Kong police released eighty-seven canisters of tear gas at ten thousand protestors outside the Central Government Complex at Admiralty, the first occupy site of the Umbrella Movement. The demonstrators used umbrellas as shields to avoid the effects of tear gas and pepper spray. This action by the police force was captured and reported in both the printed and the online social media. It was a significant historical moment when the protestors announced, and the police force denounced, the Umbrella Movement.

The umbrella, a rather everyday, functional object, became a symbolic object of civil disobedience and resistance. Two weeks after the incident, on October 13, 2014, an image captured by the photojournalist Xaume Olleros (represented by AFP/Getty Images) appeared on the cover of the Asia edition of Time magazine. In it, an unnamed protestor stands against the Central Government Complex—with tear gas all around him—equipped with a disposable facemask and goggles and holding two black umbrellas (one collapsed) with extended arms pointing to the sky. The headline, in yellow: “The Umbrella Revolution: Hong Kong’s Fight for Freedom Is a Challenge to China” (figure 1).[1] The body gesture of the protestor appears as a V—a sign that declares victory in wartime and a symbol of peace adapted by the counterculture in the late 1960s.

Olleros’s image is not merely a description of the moment: the mass of humanity, the chaos . . . . Through his lens and the choice made by the photo editor and the publisher, the incident is reduced to the singular and the symbolic in an artfully composed picture. His image is a subjective and romanticized portrayal that draws readers’ attention and induces in them an emotional response.

On the October 22, 2014, the Xin Hua News Agency announced the winning entries of the twenty-fourth China News Award (Zhongguo xinwen jiang), sponsored by the All-China Journalists Association. One of the winning entries, photographed by Li Xueren, depicts Xi Jinping paying a visit to a cargo terminal at Xingang, Wuhan, and bearing a blue umbrella in the rain (figure 2). This news picture, taken in July 2013, was titled “Xi Jinping Braves the Rain and Visits Xingang, Wuhan.” Xi is depicted neither as a national leader nor as a hero. The informality of his attire and the standing position do not distinguish him from the other two government delegates or from the cargo terminal worker in a yellow helmet. Xi was, however, prepared for a photographic moment. He stood up straight, faced the camera, and smiled for it. Nonetheless, he was captured looking rather disengaged from his surroundings.

In China, an individual holding an umbrella in a picture became politically sensitive content. On October 1, 2014, the Beijing-based poet Wang Zang uploaded a self-portrait on the Internet to support the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong. In Wang’s self-portrait, he holds a blue umbrella and is making a middle-finger gesture in front of the flag of the Republic of China (the flag also known as “Blue Sky, White Sun, and a Wholly Red Earth.”) After the release of the image, Wang Zang was detained and then arrested in China. Yet in spite of the restricted freedom of the press there, Li Xueren’s news picture featuring Xi holding an umbrella seems to be have been authorized—against all odds—to be seen in and outside of the People’s Republic of China.

Shortly after the announcement of the China News Awards, Li Xueren’s photograph experienced an unpredictable transformation over the Internet. “Xi Jinping Braves the Rain and Visits Xingang, Wuhan” went viral not only in the cyber territory of the People’s Republic of China, but also in Hong Kong. Netizens in Hong Kong adapted Li’s photograph by retouching the background and changing Xi’s umbrella from blue to yellow. The change of color was significant. Yellow ribbons were used in the Umbrella Movement to represent grassroots solidarity among the pro-democracy protestors; blue ribbons signified support of the Hong Kong police force and the pro-establishment politicians.

Li’s image was transformed by metamorphosis and parody. This photographic manipulation helps illustrate the making of a derivative work. The original image is known to the general public. The way to appropriate the original image into derivative work may have nothing to do with the original content and subject matter. That is, what is described in the original image may become lost in visual translation, an empty signifier. Xi Jinping was retouched into Olleros’s reportage and appeared on the iconic Time’s magazine cover (figure 3). The unnamed protestor is replaced by China’s most powerful leader. The presence of Xi at the occupy site in Hong Kong was then widely circulated on the Internet.

Fig. 3. Fig. 3.

The intention behind the making of this derivative work is neutral but still subversive. It presents neither approval nor denial of the Umbrella Movement. The text on the cover is not revised. Textual meaning remains the same. And this is where visual parody takes place. Emptying the established and authoritative meaning in a work of art is a subversive act, the intention of which is to reject political authority. The political situation may not change because of the parodic alteration of a magazine cover, but a subversive spirit and a symbolic “signal” were beginning to get a shape. This is the very beginning of the making of Xi at the occupy sites in Hong Kong.

The art of manipulation in derivative works involves a variety of artistic tactics whose aim is to render unrealistic imagery. For example, Hong Kong student Fok Chun-wing appropriated and then duplicated the umbrella-holding Xi Jinping (originally photographed by Li Xueren) into René Magritte’s Golconda (1953; figure 4). Fok’s creation was first uploaded on Facebook, then shared and circulated to other social-media platforms and discussion forums on the internet.

Fig. 4. Fig. 4.

Derivative works cross time, place, and space. The protagonist in Magritte’s Golconda is now Xi with his yellow umbrella. The only resonance between the original (Magritte’s) and the derivative (Fok’s) is perhaps the very symbolic “rain.”

There is a sense of purposelessness and uncertainty when one investigates derivative work on a visual level. Is Xi falling? Why use such an appropriation? This is not to question the creative intention of derivative work; to look at any one illustration of a derivative work does not allow us to explain the emergence of the genre itself in the context of participatory culture and digital humanities.

Through the signifier of the yellow umbrella, Fok’s derivative work is only one of the countless images that insert Xi in the occupy site at Admiralty. Xi appears there on a pleasant afternoon and at night during the hurling of the tear gas (figures 5 and 6). The subtle touch of placing a yellow peace ribbon on Xi’s chest adds another layer of betrayal, delusion, and disbelief. He is not there but there.

Fig. 5. Fig. 5.
Fig. 6. Fig. 6.

The two derivative works discussed here are not only a juxtaposition of day and night, of peace and conflict. The ways Xi has been inserted in the scenes are the same. Xi is placed in the middle of the picture, looking toward the camera and smiling. This could be considered a “limitation” of derivative work: the original dictates a certain expression in the secondary work. Xi is once again unconnected to, even oblivious to his surroundings. Xi’s presence in the picture could be any tourist’s photographic testimony. He is there but not there.

Illustrations of how netizens (re)construct a scene of a parodic and delusional nature are not the only ones. If you search on Google Images using the keywords “Xi Jinping” and “umbrella” in Chinese (http://tinyurl.com/pbxuv3t) and/or English (http://tinyurl.com/oghhrry), you will find hundreds and hundreds of derivative works of Xi related to the Umbrella Movement. The volume of these images, the participations of many creators, and the metamorphoses created by the hands of these creators characterize derivative work that differs from how we measure the originality of a photographic image, or of any other work of art. These derivative works are also public testimonies to the inherent problems that caused the Umbrella Movement: the challenges to the “One country, two systems” principle, electoral reform, and implementation of the Basic Law, in 2017, after the handover of the sovereignty of Hong Kong to China in 1997.[2]

The operative process of derivative work is endless and transformative. Derivative works emerging from the Umbrella Movement appear in both virtual and physical realities. As the Umbrella Movement grew, more and more civil happenings and visual testimonies took place at the occupy sites. Portraits of Xi were printed out as objects and erected on-site. These printed objects resemble cutout standees or pull-up banners, rather like the low-cost print advertisements popular in Hong Kong.

At the occupy sites, Xi’s photographic image was further adorned and modified. Xi not only carried the signature yellow umbrella, but also obligatorily wore a yellow peace ribbon on his chest. A yellow sticker with a political slogan in Chinese vertically reading “I want real universal suffrage” was put on the cutout standee.

Leung Chun-ying, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, was also rendered into a printed object and then placed next to Xi on Nathan Road at Mong Kok (figure 7). Xi appears slightly taller than Leung. Leung—unlike Xi, who has a brown cardboard backing—is suspended in space with his eyes shut. The cutout standee attracted the attention of passersby who stopped for photo opportunities. This cutout of Xi was not the only one; there were plenty along Nathan Road in Mong Kok and at the other occupy sites.

Fig. 7. Fig. 7.

A participant carried a slogan sign saying “To support Xi Jinping’s policy is to implement the anti-graft campaign.” That man violated any sense of appropriate physical distance and went so far as to kiss the national leader (figure 8). These photo-opportunity scenes were a frequent activity at the occupy sites. The representation of a representation—a third mimesis—renders an appearance of Xi that in itself creates and encourages the photographic act.

Fig. 8. Fig. 8.

The eight visual examples under discussion are linked by a theme that helps illustrate the emergence of derivative work during the Umbrella Movement. Derivative works emerging from the Umbrella Movement are not only about Xi Jinping. You may perform other Google Images searches to discover other matters that appealed to Hong Kong’s netizens. For example, if you type in the keywords “Leung Chun Ying,” “umbrella,” and “derivative works” (http://tinyurl.com/oayqbur), most of the results will be photojournalistic accounts of Leung or news photos of the Umbrella Movement. Fewer are of derivative works.

This apparent lack does not mean that there are no derivative works of Leung. Without using the keyword “umbrella,” and in a Google Image search in the Chinese language (http://tinyurl.com/nm4fgju), hundreds of derivative works of Leung surface. These images bring us to the wider picture of derivative works in Hong Kong, where political authorities are questioned and “shamed” in demonized portrayals throughout popular cultural.[3]

Leung is not the only subject to be parodied; legislators and government officials also receive involuntary makeovers by the Internet public. Text, too, is used to magnify disdain, by way of superimposition, revision, and the addition of subtitles to simulate the screening experience.

What is fascinating in terms of rhetoric and aesthetic is that derivative works are not meticulously made. A picture-perfect manipulation commands viewers to believe (as does an advertising image or even political propaganda); it does not invite the viewer to question its validity. In derivative works, however, image-makers may or may not be professionally trained in photography and design. The artistry of derivative work does not rely on rendering a believable portrayal. There are no formalist criteria to assess the artistry and quality of derivative work. To create a technically perfect photographic manipulation is not the goal.

One may see imperfect technique as a grassroots aesthetic, but it is also an intellectual signal to the viewer to question the legitimacy of the image and its creative intention. The aim of photographic manipulation in most political propaganda is to indoctrinate; the aim of photographic manipulation in derivative work is to prod the viewer to think. Derivative work is an instrument to problematize the subject matter and discard authoritarian claims. Through representation using fakery and the rhetoric of imperfection, derivative work questions authority, the integrity of images, and perception—and offers an alternative definition of reality in the visually derived and –deluded world of the twenty-first century.

Situating Derivative Work in the Contexts of a Participatory Culture and the Digital Humanities

The networking of image banks will speed up the processes of accessibility, cannibalisation, re-animation, and exhaustion of imagery. Copyright law becomes dysfunctional with the proliferation of new image technologies. What is alarming here is not that “great images” will be unprotected . . . for photography has always been promiscuous. Rather it is that the endless circuit of the creation of desire for commodities—the consumer culture which continues to gobble up the Earth’s resources and attempts to induct once distinct and self-sustaining cultures into its logic of self and life as nothing more than that which is delivered via the marketplace—now has an even more powerful means of proliferation.[4]

Anne-Marie Willis, in “Digitisation and the Living Death of Photography,” proposes that digitization of photographic images is “cannibalising and regurgitating photographic (and other) imagery, allowing the production of simulations of simulations.”[5] The ability to manipulate the reproduction of a representation, in Willis’s term “manipulability,” is a major and intrinsic feature of computer-based media.[6] The content of derivative work (be it ideological, visual, or textual) is ever-changing, transforming, and self-cannibalizing through appropriation, repurposing, and reinvention, as outlined in the visual and operational aspects of derivative work in Hong Kong.

The images of Xi Jinping are snapshots of a larger economy of image manipulation that resulted from and is related to the discourses of digital humanities, participatory culture, and collective intelligence. The manipulated images of Xi (figures 1–8) illustrate an endless cycle of image proliferation, from a photojournalistic image to various degrees and generations of manipulation and reincarnation on the Internet. Materialization into a printed object that attracts photo opportunities and the image-taking opportunity itself will render another beginning of image-making. Derivative work is not a linear, repeating circle of birth, life, and death. Instead, every metamorphosis triggers mutation, expansion, and explosion of proliferation.

The proliferation of infinite imaging in the currency of digital culture is one of the aspects of derivative work, but there is also the potential for danger, as when one considers the framework of participatory propaganda and grassroots politics. The mode of production of derivative work characterizes its participatory nature. This genre, like propaganda, is a form of political persuasion. Derivative work, however, is produced neither by the center nor by the privileged few. Instead it is created by the netizen through mass participation and public reinvention. This civil and participatory nature of imaging also meets the political demand of the Umbrella Movement: that is, the adoption of the “civil nomination” in the election of Chief Executive in Hong Kong in 2017.[7] Faris and Meier’s research on digital activism in authoritarian and repressive political regimes in countries such as Egypt, Iran, and Sudan indicates that digital participation enables mass communication and “fundamentally alter[s] certain types of interaction between authoritarian governments and their opponents . . . changes the dynamics of state-society relations.”[8]

Derivative work is a subversive form of political persuasion akin to “guerrilla warfare,” as it cannot be formalized and homogenized. In their discussion about participatory culture, Aaron Delwiche and Jennifer Jacobs Henderson remark that monopolization of information in the traditional mass media is circumvented by independent publishing and social media through the use of affordable tools and means, and therefore the hierarchy of information is disrupted.[9] Derivative works disrupt the order of information and become sites of civil resistance not only to aesthetic and technical traditions, but also to political authorities. It is an activist and emancipatory process for the humanities in terms of digital citizenship and photographic imaging.

As a form of political persuasion, derivative work is not created to construct a state ideology. Rather, through grassroots and civil participation, many subversive acts are merged to question the validity or even believability of political authority. Xi appearing at a cargo terminal at Wuhan in a photo by Li Xueren is a visual testimony to persuade the public to believe that he was there, that he is part of everyday life, industrial life, and the economic success of the People’s Republic of China. The derivative works of Xi in Hong Kong, however, are not about transmitting state ideologies through news reportage. If photojournalism created by a public authority expresses power, derivative works can be perceived as “signals,” as “noise,” to destabilize and challenge the signifying practice of the authority.[10] Signal and noise are difficult to decipher if perceived independently. When a great quantity of signal and noise is presented, however, a pattern, or an intention, becomes apparent, and their effect and their affect can be interpreted.

The appropriation of existing photographic images is part of the definition of derivative work in grassroots politics. During the Umbrella Movement, and during other occupy movements on a global scale, photographic imagery has become a prevalent tool to encourage the participation of grassroots netizens in anti-globalization movements and civil resistance.[11] Strong iconographic imagery is created by using preexisting images that consolidate a collective identity and are employed as “a powerful means of mobilization.”[12] Inserting Xi into the occupy sites in Hong Kong, together with other facsimiles of government officials involved in the process of electoral reform, does not create one common enemy or one scapegoat to blame for the cause of unpromising democratic progress after the handover of the sovereignty of Hong Kong to mainland China. Instead, derivative works contribute to the waves of “signals” and “noises”—a collective expression for democracy and the call for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. Derivative work is not only affordable, but also spreadable.[13] The network culture serves as a springboard to accelerate the dissemination of information and is also an enabling effect for the needs of grassroots politics. The way derivative work spreads is unpredictable, stepping over the boundaries of independent publishing into other territories. For example, Apple Daily, a mainstream pro-democratic newspaper in Hong Kong, regularly compiles video news (dung6san1man4 動新聞) based on existing derivative works and broadcasts them on its website. In this way, circulation of derivative work extends from independent publishing into the mass media, which creates other opportunities for the circulation of images.

Derivative work resulting from the Umbrella Movement provides an alternative model for the dissemination of “news”: it calls for disseminating the political agenda of grassroots’ interests and mobilizing the critical civil mass in what could be called “participatory propaganda.” Participatory propaganda is a paradigm shift in the making and spreading of political persuasion. It is meant to subvert conventional propaganda in that it serves the political interests of the powerless. How the grassroots receive information is no longer determined by the powerful: rather, information itself is created and then shared by civil participation.

Since 2011, the HKSAR government has proposed a Copyright (Amendment) Bill as a call for copyright-law reform. The proposal, commonly known as “Internet Article 23,” will curtail Internet freedom and creativity.[14] The most controversial amendments are the introduction of the “Right to Be Forgotten” and the revision of the “Computer Crimes Ordinance” in the name of national security. While the legal authorities introduce measures to regulate Internet freedom, netizens, activists, and legal counsel have formed nongovernmental alliances and grassroots concern groups to provide public oversight and community monitoring. These alliances, such as Keyboard Frontline, the Concern Group for Rights of Derivative Works, and the Copyrights & Derivative Works Alliance, make counterproposals and urge legal authorities to consider introducing and implementing User-Generated Content (UGC) into Hong Kong’s copyright-law reform.[15]

In principle, derivative work as participatory propaganda seems to be emancipatory and enabling; however, this mode of communication also faces some dangers. Faris and Meier argue that in addition to opportunities there are dangers: repressive regimes can retaliate—in ways that range from violent suppression to silent but equally powerful control of information.[16] Internet censorship in Hong Kong is also a significant and urgent challenge.[17] The revision and reinforcement of copyright law, unlike Willis’s prediction, becomes a tool to suppress public opinion and creativity. The future of derivative work in Hong Kong depends on the legal-political environment.


Lee Wing Ki, a researcher, is a lecturer at the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University. Among his interests are photographic practice and its history in Hong Kong and East Asia, media arts, and digital humanities.

Note: I would like to express gratitude to my fellow netizens in Hong Kong who create derivative works. Thank you, also, to Johnathan Farris for editorial suggestions.

Bibliography

  • Delwiche, Aaron, and Jennifer Jacobs Henderson. “What Is Participatory Culture?” in The Participatory Cultures Handbook, eds. Aaron Delwiche and Jennifer Jacobs Henderson. New York and London: Routledge, 2013, 3–9.
  • Doerr, Nicole, Alice Mattoni, and Simon Teune. “Toward a Visual Analysis of Social Movements, Conflict, and Political Mobilization,” in Research in Social Movements, Conflict and Change 35 (2013): xi–xxvi.
  • Eschle, Catherine. “(Anti-)globalization and Resistance Identities,” in Routledge Handbook of Identity Studies, ed. Anthony Elliott. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge, 2011, 364–79.
  • Faris, David M., and Patrick Meier. “Digital Activism in Authoritarian Countries,” in The Participatory Cultures Handbook, eds. Aaron Delwiche and Jennifer Jacobs Henderson. New York and London: Routledge, 2013, 197–205.
  • Jenkins, Henry, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green. Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York and London: New York University Press, 2013.
  • Hong Kong Federation of Students. “To All Hong Kong Citizens: A Vow of Civil Disobedience.” https://www.hkfs.org.hk/2014/09/28/to-all-hong-kong-citizens-a-vow-of-civil-disobedience/?lang=en (accessed August 1, 2015).
  • Lim, Tai Wei. “The Aesthetics of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’ in the First Ten Days: A Historical Anatomy of the First Phase (27 Oct 2014 to 6 October 2014) of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution,” in East Asia 32 (2015): 83–98.
  • Terranova, Tiziana. Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age. London and Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2004.
  • Willis, Anne-Marie. “Digitisation and the Living Death of Photography,” in Culture, Technology & Creativity in the Late Twentieth Century, ed. Philip Hayward. London: J. Libbey, 1990, 197–208.

Notes

    1. Two protestors in the background appear to be suffocated by the tear gas. One of them (in the white shirt) is identified as the Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Chee-ying Lai, the founder of the pro-democracy Next Media. return to text

    2. “One country, two systems” is a constitutional principle governing the political sovereignty of Hong Kong and China, stipulated by the Hong Kong Basic Law. Proposed by Deng Xiaoping on January 11, 1982, it was first applied to Taiwan and China on the sovereignty question and the concept of a unified People’s Republic of China. The principle was then applied to Hong Kong and Macau. “One country, two systems” was put into effect by the People’s Republic of China and the United Kingdom over the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984 and emphasized that the socialist system would not be practiced in Hong Kong after the handover of sovereignty to China in 1997. return to text

    3. Tai Wei Lim, “The Aesthetics of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’ in the First Ten Days: A Historical Anatomy of the First Phase (September 27–October 6, 2014) of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution,” in East Asia 32 (2015): 84. return to text

    4. Anne-Marie Willis, “Digitisation and the Living Death of Photography,” in Culture, Technology & Creativity in the Late Twentieth Century, ed. Philip Hayward (London: J. Libbey, 1990), 99.return to text

    5. Ibid., 207.return to text

    6. Ibid., 200–201.return to text

    7. Hong Kong Federation of Students, “To All Hong Kong Citizens: A Vow of Civil Disobedience,” https://www.hkfs.org.hk/2014/09/28/to-all-hong-kong-citizens-a-vow-of-civil-disobedience/?lang=en. (accessed August, 1, 2015)return to text

    8. David M. Faris and Patrick Meier, “Digital Activism in Authoritarian Countries,” in The Participatory Cultures Handbook, eds. Aaron Delwiche and Jennifer Jacobs Henderson (New York and London: Routledge, 2013), 204.return to text

    9. Aaron Delwiche and Jennifer Jacobs Henderson, “What Is Participatory Culture?” in The Participatory Cultures Handbook, eds. Aaron Delwiche and Jennifer Jacobs Henderson (New York and London: Routledge, 2013), 3.return to text

    10. Drawn from information theory and communication system, Terranova provides a sound illustration to explain how information circulates and operates in the network culture, when we live in an era “not about signs, but signals.” In Tiziana Terranova, Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age (London and Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2004), 16. return to text

    11. Catherine Eschle, “(Anti-)globalization and Resistance Identities,” in Routledge Handbook of Identity Studies ed. Anthony Elliott (Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge, 2011), 364–79.return to text

    12. Nicole Doerr, Alice Mattoni, and Simon Teune, “Toward a Visual Analysis of Social Movements, Conflict, and Political Mobilization,” in Research in Social Movements, Conflict and Change 35 (2013), xi–xxvi.return to text

    13. Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green, Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture (New York; London: New York University Press, 2013). return to text

    14. The ‘Internet Article 23’ is an appropriated term derived from the imposition of Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23 on national security. The ‘Internet Article 23’ imposes direct effect on derivative works in jeopardising freedom of expression.return to text

    15. Keyboard Frontline is activist group to promote public awareness of copyright law reform in Hong Kong from a grassroots perspective (https://www.facebook.com/KeyboardFrontline); Concern Group of Rights of Derivative Works is a public concern alliance to safeguard rights in publishing derivative works in Hong Kong (https://www.facebook.com/DerivativeWorksHK; http://cgrdws.blogspot.hk/); Copyrights & Derivative Works Alliance is a grassroots alliance concerning copyright law reform and derivative works in Hong Kong (https://www.facebook.com/cdwalliance). return to text

    16. Faris and Meier, “Digital Activism in Authoritarian Countries.” return to text

    17. The freedom of press as practiced in Hong Kong is declining. The Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without Borders, in the category “Most Free” in 2002 ranks Hong Kong at 18; in 2014, it dropped to 61. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Press_Freedom_Index (accessed April, 15, 2015).return to text