Journal of Romance Studies

New age warriors: negotiating the handover on the streets of Macao

Journal of Romance Studies (2005), 5, (1), 9–22.

Abstract

At the time of the handover of Hong Kong to China (July 1997), open warfare erupted on the streets of Macao between elements of the South China underworld. This terminated abruptly roughly a month before the handover of Macao to China (December 1999). What and who was involved? The answer to this was never fully established. In this article I address the issue of what these events can tell us concerning a process that, outwardly and formally, presented itself as an instance of ‘decolonization’ – in fact, the last act of the former Portuguese Empire – but was, in reality, far more complex. In this way, I aim to show that the emphasis on the moment of ‘independence’ in the analysis of colonial and postcolonial processes tends to conceal the continuities and the complexities of political, social and economic processes that are best seen in a global perspective, rather than in terms of a localized relation between colonized and colonizers.

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de Pina-Cabral, João