‘Indigenous’ or ‘all stars’: Discourses on ‘team Hong Kong’ in a FIFA World Cup tournament

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This paper utilizes the controversies in China’s Hong Kong over the non-ethnic representatives to explore the debates on naturalization and the negotiation of nationality. China disallows split loyalties and all non-ethnics must abandon the passport of their original countries in the stringent process of naturalization. Problematically, Hong Kong, a former British colony and a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China, has less rigid requirements on citizenship, effectively disregarding a person’s ethnicity. Hong Kong citizenship then gives grounds for non-ethnics to naturalize as Chinese and represent Hong Kong in FIFA tournaments such as the World Cup as holders of Hong Kong SAR passport without an overseas nationality or citizenship. This research takes notes from the interviews with naturalized players and online discussions to explore the arguments favouring or rejecting naturalized representatives in Hong Kong against the background of its complex dynamics with mainland China under the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’. Copyright © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1226-1241
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Ho, L. K.-K., & Chiu, A. (2016). ‘Indigenous’ or ‘all stars’: Discourses on ‘team Hong Kong’ in a FIFA World Cup tournament. International Journal of the History of Sport, 33(11), 1226-1241.


  • China
  • Citizenship
  • Hong Kong
  • Nationality
  • Sovereignty


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