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Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia

Mr How Wee Ng

BA, Chinese Language and Literature, Peking University, China (2000), Postgraduate Diploma in Education. National Institute of Education, Singapore (2002), MA, Chinese Language and Literature, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2009)


How Wee Ng
Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia

Senior Teaching Fellow

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Senior Teaching Fellow

Mr How Wee Ng
Email address:
SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Office Hours:
Wednesdays 4-5pm
Thesis title:
Worrying about the Audience: The Discourse of Television Drama Censorship in Postsocialist China
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

As one of the key concerns in Mainland Chinese media and film studies, censorship is often described as a prohibitive act under the assumption that a censored text is a distortion of reality or truth. Such a framework, following Stuart Hall’s ideas, implies that the text is a battleground for competing ideologies. However, this approach is problematic. It imagines the television programme as a text laden with ideologies to be read and discovered, implying that any modifications to the text under the name of censorship means a loss of autonomy for screenwriters and directors, and that the text is now “less” than what it was. Other than the censorious changes knowable to the researcher, how do we ascertain the other edits carried out in confidence, as expressed gauchely through the term of “self-censorship”? This approach is vacuous, for it not only positions censorship as a zero-sum game, but also reinforces the view stemming from a Cold-War paradigm that the Chinese state is an airtight, oppressive totality.

Drawing from Foucault’s work on power/discourse, I approach censorship as a discourse that enables pleasure and facilitates knowledge production. By censorship discourse, I mean any attempt to represent a certain programme as problematic, threatening or controversial. Building upon Judith Butler’s work on censorship as a poststructuralist practice, and the Laclauian notion of articulation which draws attention to the circumstances, purposes, objects and dichotomies of practices, I examine the discourse of television drama censorship in postsocialist China from the late 1970s to the end of the 2000s, rethinking censorship in terms of the wider practices of disciplining and forbidding. In other words, my work addresses how audiences and the
masses are imagined, how people are positioned by regimes of power as participatory in censorship, and how they variously respond to the attempts at positioning.

PhD Publications

  1. 《戲劇盒與新加坡的社會劇場——文化干預與藝術自主性》(2011),(新加坡:南洋理工大學中華語言文化中心﹔八方文化創作室)
  2. “Rethinking Censorship in China—The Case of Snail House (Woju)”, Forthcoming in volume on Chinese Television edited by television scholars Bai Ruoyun and Song Geng.

PhD Conferences

  1. “The Notion of  ‘Audiences’ in the Discourse of Kuo Pao Kun”, Kuo Pao Kun International Conference, organised by Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, National Museum of Singapore, The Tangent and The Theatre Practice, Singapore ( 14-15 Sep 2012).
  2. “Censorship articulations in Mainland Chinese Television Drama in the early 1980s”, The British Association for Chinese Studies, Oxford University, UK (3-5 Sep 2012).
  3. “Producing Chinese Delinquent Audiences in the Early Reform Period—The Censorship Discourse of “Garrison’s Gorillas (1980)”, “Imagining Chinese Cinemas in the 21st Century”, University of Exeter, UK (9-11 July 2012).
  4. “Pruning the Budding Flowers of our Motherland”, European Junior China Scholars Conference, Beijing, organised by French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC), Hong Kong and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Beijing, China (5-7 Jul 2012).
  5. “Rethinking Censorship in China—The Case of Snail House (Woju)”, Paper presented at the Television, Power and Ideology in Postsocialist China Conference, Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, organised by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC); Research School of Asia and the Pacific, ANU Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU, Canberra, Australia (2-3 Mar 2012).
  6. “Libidinal Superiority of the Beijing Working-class Male—Sexual Emasculation and Empowerment in Garrulous Zhang Damin’s Happy Life, Paper presented at the SOAS Research Students Society Conference, London (30-31 Mar 2010).



  • Film and Television Censorship, History of Popular Culture
  • Media Studies, Cultural Studies, Film Studies, Theatre Studies