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Are Postboxes Cultural Heritage? An Examination of the Debates on British Postboxes in Post-Colonial Hong Kong


This research examines in-service vintage British postboxes which were produced during the British Colonial period, bear the British Royal Cyphers, and have become symbols that allow local people to memorialize or disconnect from the past. At the same time, Pro-China leaders in the Hong Kong government have adopted the stance that the removal of these signs of unauthorized heritage is a conspicuous strategy to make the Hong Kong people pro-China Chinese subjects. By dissecting how different interest groups engage with the removal of colonial era postboxes, this thesis argues that stakeholders have different interpretations of the colonial relic because they construe the colonial past and post-colonial social and political circumstances differently. This research is devoted to tracing how and why stakeholders from different perspectives interpret the vintage postboxes in terms of cultural heritage, colonial past, nostalgia, identity, decolonization, and Hong Kong-China relations. Correspondingly, this thesis also suggests that the post-colonial social and political circumstances intensify nostalgia and local identity consciousness among Hong Kong residents and have deepened the conflicts towards the authorities.

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