PurposeA new wave of anti-mainland protests has emerged in Hong Kong since 2012. The purpose of this paper is threefold: to delineate its unique characteristics; to trace its historical origins; and to speculate on the political implications of this new wave of anti-mainland protests.Design/methodology/approachA historical approach has been adopted to trace the origins of the anti-mainland protests. Since this new wave of anti-mainland protests only began in 2012, this paper is based mostly on documentary analysis of mass media reports.FindingsThis paper finds that this new wave of anti-mainland protests has been characterized by its targeting of mainland tourists/immigrants, its militancy, its concentration in the New Territories, its constituent membership of people from society’s grassroots, its dependence on e-mobilization and its poor image in Hong Kong’s mass media. In addition, this paper has identified the complex interplay between the influx of tourists/immigrants, the increase of social inequality, the emergence of a localist discourse, the formation of localist organizations and the setbacks to the democracy movement that are the underlying socio-political factors that have sparked this new wave of anti-mainland protests.Social implicationsAnti-mainland protests have profound implications for Hong Kong politics since they deepen socio-political polarization, have transformed the mode of protesting in Hong Kong society and threaten the prospects for the national reunification of Greater China.Originality/valueThis paper may be one of the first academic papers to examine the anti-mainland protests. Instead of taking a pro-Beijing or anti-mainland approach, this paper takes a neutral position and offers an objective analysis of the anti-mainland protests.
Asian Education and Development Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 2, 2017