In 1994, after a year of intense activism by indigenous women and their urban supporters, indigenous women in the New Territories of Hong Kong were legally allowed to inherit land for the first time. In pushing for legislative change, the female inheritance movement adopted key ideas—gender equality, human rights and a critique of patriarchy—from a global vocabulary of feminism and human rights. This article examines this rights frame to understand how, if at all, activists modified international conceptions of discrimination and rights to fit Hong Kong. Overall, the ideology was not fundamentally altered or adapted, but indigenized by local activists through the use of local symbols. More deep-rooted change was not necessary for two reasons: First, in the pre-handover moment, rights arguments derived political currency from their association with an international community. Also, critical movement participants, here termed translators, helped encompass the indigenous women’s individual kinship grievances within a broader movement based on rights.

Included in

Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.