Tian yu di 天與地 (When Heaven Burns, 2011), a primetime television series that was screened in Hong Kong from November 2011 to January 2012, tells the story of a young rock band struggling with the memory of having eaten a fellow bandmate in order to survive a mountaineering accident. Cannibalism not only bewildered the mainstream TV audience, but it was also viewed as an allusion to the June Fourth crackdown on the Tiananmen student movement. This essay explores cannibalism as a method that questions the assimilation of Hong Kong into the national body politic of China. Its argument is twofold. First, cannibalism in this drama disrupts the bourgeois consciousness of a healthy subject, exploring a shattered but renewed life that questions the dissolution of food in the making of a healthy subject. Second, by challenging the bourgeois model of a reconciled body, this drama series throws critical light on Hong Kong's coerced “swallowing” of a China excessive in its material aggrandizement, restoring the power of imagination of possible futures not dictated by Hong Kong's increasing integration with China. Finally, this essay suggests that cannibalism, viewed through the Tiananmen legacy, may function as a method to explore modes of relationality between Hong Kong and Mainland China.

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