The Legacies of Political Violence: How do Violence in Protests Shape Citizen Attitudes in Hong Kong?

Project: Research project

Project Details


Despite the normative and tactical merits of nonviolence, violent protests remain a ubiquitous phenomenon throughout history. Many popular protests around the world began with the use of violence, while some initially peaceful protests might turn violent along the course – often as a result of protesters’ tactical escalation or the state’s decision to repress dissent by force. The causes of violence are often complex and varied, and thus much scholarly attention has been drawn to this line of inquiry, seeking explanations as to why violent protests occur. In contrast, research has been lacking regarding the impact of protest-related violence on citizens after the protests. While we know that violence plays an important role in shaping immediate protest outcomes, we know much less about how violence leaves lasting imprints on participants and non- participants in the aftermath of protests.

How do protest-related violence shape citizens’ post-protest socio-political attitudes and behaviour? This study aims to fill this research gap by focusing on the case of protest- ridden Hong Kong and the legacy of the 2019 Anti-Extradition Bill Protests. Using large-n population surveys, panel surveys and focus group interviews, it investigates how and why citizens’ exposure to state violence and their perception of protesters’ violence during the protests influence their trust, tolerance, civic participation, mental well-being and attitudes towards political violence. By combining various methodological approaches, this research will produce rich and original evidence to unveil the enduring significance of protest-related violence. It will also be, to the best of our knowledge, the first study in Hong Kong to examine the impact of experiencing a massive wave of protests on individuals. Our findings will advance the comparative study of modern-day protests, inform policymakers on public sentiments and provide insights to facilitate reconciliation after political upheavals.
Effective start/end date1/01/2231/12/23


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