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Work-in-Progress Workshop in Hong Kong Studies 2023 #1

Workshop 2023 #1

Title: Democratic Occupation or Riot: How Hong Kong’s Trump-supporters Perceive Citizen Actions and Democracy

Date & Time: 3 March 2023, 11:00 HKT

Presenters: Yao-Tai Li (University of New South Wales) and Katherine Whitworth (University of Sydney)

Discussant: Prof. Ma Ngok, Associate Professor of the Department of Government and Public Administration the Chinese University of Hong Kong


During the 2019 Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (Anti-ELAB) Movement in Hong Kong, one iconic event was protesters’ storming of the Legislative Council (LegCo) Complex. In 2021, on the other side of the world, the results of the presidential election in the United States led Trump supporters to attack the Capitol in Washington, DC. In this article we combine 104,433 social media posts and replies (between November 2016 to November 2021) and surveys (N =1,015, collected between November 2020 to January 2021) to examine how Hong Kong-based Trump supporters perceive the legitimacy of citizen actions and the idea of democracy. We found that Hong Kong’s Trump supporters define citizen actions and democracy with the reference of their own geopolitical struggle against China, and see both the US Capitol attack and the Storming of the LegCo legitimate and non-violent. Democracy, for Hong Kong’s Trump-supporters, is negatively defined as anything except authoritarianism as seen in China.

Keywords: Democracy; Trump-supporter; Occupy; Anti-ELAB Movement; Capitol Attack; Hong Kong; China

Project type: Article

Yao-Tai Li (University of New South Wales) and Katherine Whitworth (University of Sydney)
Date & Time
3 March 2023