This paper surveys the process of discursive contestation by intellectual agents in Hong Kong that fostered a counter-public sphere in China's offshore. In the post-war era, Chinese exiled intellectuals leveraged the colony's geopolitical ambiguity and created a displaced community of loyalists/dissenters that supported independent publishing venues and engaged in the cultural front. By the 1970s, homegrown and left-wing intellectuals had constructed a hybrid identity to articulate their physical proximity to, yet social distance from, the Chinese nation-state, as well as to appropriate their sense of belonging to the city-state, through confronting social injustice. In examining periodicals and interviewing public intellectuals, I propose that this counter-public sphere was defined first by its alternative voice, which contested various official discourses, second by its multifaceted inclusiveness, which accommodated diverse worldviews and subjectivities, and third by its critical platform, which nurtured social activism in undemocratic Chinese societies. I differentiate the permissive conditions that loosened constraints on intellectual agencies from the productive conditions that account for their penetration and diffusion. Habermas's idealized public sphere framework is revisited by bringing in ideational contestation, social configuration and cultural identity.