The Rise of “Localism” in Hong Kong

Issue Date January 2017
Volume 28
Issue 1
Page Numbers 157-171
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The 2016 Legislative Council (LegCo) election marked a watershed in the political development of Hong Kong. The vote reflected the emergence of increasing divisions within the democratic and pro-Beijing (or pro-establishment) camps, the institutionalization of post-Umbrella Movement activism, and especially the rise of localism. At its heart, Localism signifies a commitment to protecting the interests and identity of Hong Kong. Beijing’s heavy-handed intervention after the LegCo elections—disqualifying several localist lawmakers who refused to take the oath of office as written—is evidence of how much Beijing fears seeing the discourse on Hong Kong national- and self-determination become institutionalized. The decision significantly altered Beijing-Hong Kong relations by damaging the territory’s autonomy, and it has potential implications for Hong Kong’s ability to preserve its citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms.

About the Author

Malte Philipp Kaeding, assistant professor of international politics at the University of Surrey, is a member of the Hong Kong Transition Project and an associate fellow at the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan at the University of Tübingen, Germany.

View all work by Malte Philipp Kaeding