Zeng Ee Liew

Postgraduate Research Student

Academic and research departments

Department of Politics, Hong Kong Studies Hub.


My research project

My qualifications

2020 - 2021
MA in Politics and International Relations
Keele University
2017 - 2020
BA (Hons) in International Relations
Keele University

Affiliations and memberships

Hong Kong Studies Hub
Hong Kong Studies Association


In the media

Colonial Nostalgia and the Delegitimisation of Pro-democracy Forces in Hong Kong and Taiwan
Contributing author
Taiwan Insight: The Online Magazine of the Taiwan Studies Programme



Zeng Ee Liew (2023) Colonial Nostalgia and the Delegitimisation of Pro-democracy Forces in Taiwan and Hong Kong
(Presented at the 2023 UoN-UoW Taiwan Studies Joint Conference: Taiwan in Transition)

The term ‘colonial nostalgia’, or 戀殖 (lian zhi), has increasingly appeared in media and academic discussions aligned with Chinese interests, and has often been used to describe those activists or politicians who advocate for democracy and/or independence in both Taiwan and Hong Kong. Very often, those activists or politicians will be described as ‘traitors’ who still harbour lingering love or affection and pander to the former Western or Japanese colonial power and failing to demonstrate full loyalty and affection to their motherland. Therefore, in order to address this perceived issue of ‘colonial nostalgia’, the authorities have to impose the correct form of patriotic education, to instil the correct values upon the people in Hong Kong and Taiwan. 

This paper seeks to explore the question of ‘How China uses the discourse of ‘colonial nostalgia’ to delegitimise the pro-democracy forces in Taiwan and Hong Kong?’ By examining China’s use of ‘colonial nostalgia’ to delegitimise pro-democracy forces, this paper also seeks to understand ‘Whether the use of the discourse of ‘colonial nostalgia’ is successful at its aim of delegitimization?’ This paper will employ the use of content and discourse analysis to analyse a selection of academic publications, news articles from state media and speeches from pro-government officials. By answering the research question, this paper sheds light on the role discourses have played in China’s attempt to counter the pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong and Taiwan. 

Finally, this paper will also highlight China’s struggle to address the concerns and aspirations of the pro-independence and pro-democracy activists in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The use of ‘colonial nostalgia’ as a tool of delegitimization exposes the limitations in China’s engagement with these movements. 

Zeng Ee Liew (2023) Understanding Taiwan's International Affairs through Metis Diplomacy
(Presented at the European Research Centre for Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT) Taiwan Europe Connectivity Workshop 2023)

Taiwan, since losing its UN membership in 1971, has lost most of its diplomatic allies and has become what experts have called a ‘contested state’. Despite their awkward status in the international arena, the Taiwanese government have made various attempts in order to seek more international recognition. 

This paper will make use of the conceptual framework of ‘metis diplomacy’ to understand how and whether Taiwan has been able to achieve more international recognition. This dissertation will also seek to use the case of Taiwan to test the conceptual framework and make use of practice-tracing to do so.

This paper will argue that through ‘metis diplomacy’, while less successful in allowing Taiwan to participate in international organisations, was quite successful in strengthening Taiwan’s de facto sovereignty and that the framework has been useful and applicable for the case of Taiwan.

Keziah Akhigbemen, Ade (Sharifat) Bakare, Hollie Bingham, Eloise Crossland, Matthew Cupac, Molly Jones, Darill Zeng Liew, Shaunna McIvor, Katerina Nicosia, Pooja Raval, Chris Shipley, Iona Smith, Brandon Swift, Will Tyson & Leonie Wiliams (2020) Do we support our governments to use strict surveillance methods in the fight against the coronavirus?

Chinese-style surveillance is coming to a neighborhood near you. From drones barking orders at park-goers to tracing people’s movements through mobile phones, the governments all over the world are now rushing to embrace sophisticated surveillance tools that would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago. Unprecedented use of surveillance technology, such as the use of tracking bands by the Hong Kong government or phone tracking by the Taiwanese government to ensure self-quarantining patients do not leave their homes, are indeed accepted by the local population, since they believe the fight against the coronavirus is a collective effort and believe in sacrificing these freedoms momentarily for the collective good.