Street Politics in a Hybrid Regime: The Diffusion of Political Activism in Post-colonial Hong Kong

Edmund CHENG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the diffusion of activism in post-colonial Hong Kong through the lens of the political regime and eventful analysis. It first reveals the institutional foundations of the hybrid regime that allowed the creation of a nascent movement society. It then explains how the historic 1 July rally in 2003 and a series of critical events since 2006 have led to a shift in scale and the public staging of street politics. A time-series analysis and onsite survey further capture the dynamics that spawned the collective recognition of grievances and reduced participation costs, leading to the Umbrella Movement. While the spontaneous, voluntary and decentralized organizational structure sustained protest momentum, the regime has adopted hybrid strategies to counter-mobilize bottom-up activism. The result is widening contention between the state and civil society and within civil society, or the coexistence of regime instability and regime longevity, a trend that is increasingly common in hybrid regimes encountering mass protests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-406
Number of pages24
JournalChina Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

User-Defined Keywords

  • civil society
  • contentious politics
  • Hong Kong
  • hybrid regime
  • mass mobilization
  • Umbrella Movement


Dive into the research topics of 'Street Politics in a Hybrid Regime: The Diffusion of Political Activism in Post-colonial Hong Kong'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this