Zardas Shuk-man Lee

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PhD Student

Major Field: Asian History
Adviser: Michael Tsin

BA University of Hong Kong, 2010
M. Phil. University of Hong Kong, 2014
M Phil Thesis: “From Cold War Politics to Moral Regulation: Film Censorship in Colonial Hong Kong”


My research interests include the British Empire in Asia (particularly, Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements) and the global Cold War. My thesis examined how the international Cold War politics shaped the nature of local policy, as shown in the transition from political to moral censorship of films. Situated between the Soviet Union’s comrade China and America’s ally Taiwan, the Hong Kong government was anxious to censor films on political grounds to maintain social stability. All Chinese films were banned at the height of tensions between China and Britain, between the Hong Kong and foreign governments, and between the local communist and Kuomintang supporters. In the late 1960s, these tensions gradually subsided in Hong Kong. As the government found itself superfluous as a Cold War warrior in cinemas, it transformed into the moral guardian of its colonial subjects to uphold its own legitimacy. Moral issues such as sex and violence thus became the primary concerns of censorship.

This project leads me to explore broader issues: the imperial networks of policy exchanges in the British Empire, the production of colonial knowledge, British governance in Asia, and the concept of Chineseness. I am particularly interested in researching how British government officials and local elites in Asia judged public morality.

Curriculum Vitae

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