Society and Identity
Recent protests in Hong Kong, characterised by contentious socio-political actions, have brought today’s young adults to the forefront of public scrutiny. While most scholars have focused on explaining the emergence of nationalist groups, radical behaviours, and anti-China sentiments through collective identity perspectives, the personal identity has been conflated, if not neglected altogether, as part of an explanatory model. The aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between patterns of past protest activity involvement and held attitudes, moral convictions, and party identification. Derived from interviews with scholars in Hong Kong politics, four heated socio-political issues were used to contextualise the attitudes and moral convictions examined: (1) Deepening Hong Kong-China integration; (2) Universal suffrage; (3) Seeking independence from China; and (4) Use of violence for political purposes. Hybrid latent class-profile modelling was used to empirically cluster a sample of 839 surveyed university students, based on their past involvement in protest activities. Binary and multinomial regression analyses were executed thereafter to test the predicted relationships.
Briefly put, party identification, even after accounting for the strength of identification, and seeking independence from China did not predict patterns of protest activity involvement. Rather, in terms of attitudes and moral convictions, there appeared to be significant differences in the remaining three issues, differentiating protesters from non-protesters as well as among groups of protesters with varying levels of intensity. Results from thematic analysis of 30 in-depth interviews with university students will also be covered in this presentation to expand interpretations of the quantitative results.