Political opportunities, social mobilization and collective action : The re-invigorated pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong

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

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  • Joseph M. Chan
  • Francis L F Lee


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-121
Number of pages29
Journal / PublicationChina Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007


This paper examines the wave of large-scale demonstrations which occurred in Hong Kong between 2003 and 2007, and which can be considered as forming the core of a reinvigorated pro-democracy movement in the city. The paper discusses the macro-, meso-, and micro-level factors which contributed to the rise of the demonstrations. At the macro-level, it is argued that changing political opportunities in the city have led to the formation of an alliance between political elites within the institutions and movement activists "on the streets." Organizationally, evidence from onsite surveys illustrates the "self-mobilization" processes behind the demonstrations. While movement organizations are important in organizing the protests, media and interpersonal channels are more important in actually encouraging people to participate. At the micro-level, evidence from both onsite and population surveys is used to examine the social psychological factors behind protest participation. It is argued that the current wave of demonstrations has shown signs of sustainability. Yet the limitations of their actual influence are also discussed.