Does repression undermine opposition demands? the case of the Hong Kong National Security Law

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

4 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-286
Journal / PublicationJapanese Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
Online published18 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


Does political repression extinguish public support for opposition demands? Protest emerges as a consequence of grievances and political preferences expressed as demands. Although the literature on the repression-dissent nexus has primarily focused on whether repression effectively deters dissenting behavior, a limitation is that researchers do not often distinguish between behavior and preferences. One possible implication is that although the observable protest behavior can be reduced by repression, underlying opposition demands may remain intact or even be strengthened. Hence, the question of why repression should alter public preferences remains theoretically under-investigated, because there is limited micro-level evidence that captures changes in opposition preferences induced by a repressive episode. We fielded comparable conjoint experiments before and after the enactment of the Hong Kong National Security Law in June 2020. Support for the demands was largely stable despite the sweeping powers of the law to curb protests, although some moderation of demands was observed. We outline avenues for future research on mechanisms and implications entailed by the effects of repression on preferences.

Research Area(s)

  • Conjoint experiment, Hong Kong, Policy preference, Protest, Repression