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Work-in-Progress Workshop in Hong Kong Studies 2024 #2

Workshop 2024 #2

Date & Time: March 8, 2024, 11:00 AM -12:30 PM HKT

Format: Virtually via Zoom

Discussant: Dr. Chit Wai John Mok, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Title: Learning to Adapt: Mainland Immigrants’ Social Experiences and Education in Hong Kong 2009–2016.

Presenter: Alina Weiyi Luo, Simon Fraser University

Project type: A chapter of the working MA thesis.


Existing academic literature on immigrant experiences in Hong Kong tends to portray them as victims of discrimination, neglecting the complexity of their evolving identities. To address this gap, I will explore how mainland immigrants understand and identify with the concept of Hong Kong identity and to what extent it aligns with the views of Hong Kong locals—treating the idea of Hong Kong identity as a discourse that holds different meanings to different groups of people. This project will explore mainland immigrants’ migration journey, experiences, participation, and involvement since 2003 through various protests and social movements to examine immigrants’ sense of belonging in Hong Kong and their understanding of Hong Kong identity, or Hongkonger. Specifically, the study will investigate immigrants’ interactions with Hong Kong locals, their families, and friends from high school to explore how young immigrants’ participation in the protest movement of 2014 and 2019 influenced their perception of Hong Kong. Aiming to gain insight into how mainland immigrants’ experience with Hong Kong locals and their families has impacted their perceptions of the city and helped to create their version of the idea of the Hong Kong identity. 

Mainland Chinese Immigrants, Migration, Social Movements, Hong Kong identity

Title: How Do Patriots Stand Out?: A Comparative Analysis of the Group Affiliation of Pro-establishment Candidates in the 2016 and 2020 LegCo Elections.

Presenter: Paul Lam, Institute of Sociology, National Tsinghua University (Taiwan)

Project type: Master thesis (as journal article formal)


After the enactment of the national security law, Beijing overhauled Hong Kong’s election system in 2021, effectively barring pro-democracy politicians from electoral participation and restricting candidacy to individuals considered ‘patriots.’ This substantial change has dramatically redefined the political landscape in Hong Kong. Within the pro-establishment camp, diverse groups are striving to preserve or expand their political influence amid this new political order. This study aims to unravel the political dynamics of pro-establishment groups before and after the introduction of the new LegCo election rules, drawing insights from prior research on grassroots political networks and patron-clientelism in Hong Kong.

Recognizing the pivotal role of organizational ties in influencing election outcomes at the national legislative level, I conduct a comparative analysis of the group affiliations of pro-establishment candidates in the 2016 and 2020 LegCo elections. The primary focus is on understanding how organizational ties among pro-Beijing politicians contribute to their election success in these two LegCo elections.

Utilizing social network analysis and logistic regression, I employ official records, such as the register of members’ interests and poll records, along with media reports as data sources. In the preliminary network analysis, attention is directed towards examining the organizational affiliations of newly elected legislators in the 2021 LegCo election. Initial findings indicate that groups associated with the liaison office occupy central positions within the network graph. Moreover, the logistic regression model suggests that candidates with ties to groups linked to the liaison office show a higher likelihood of election success, supported by positive and significant coefficients. Ongoing work involves the analysis of data from the 2016 LegCo election for pro-establishment candidates, with the aim of determining whether the new electoral system has influenced the dynamics within the pro-establishment camp.

LegCo election, clientelism, network analysis, ‘patriots’ ruling Hong Kong, power elites

Alina Weiyi Luo, Simon Fraser University & Paul Lam, Institute of Sociology, National Tsinghua University (Taiwan)
Date & Time
March 8, 2024, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM HKT