Ian Wong Humanities and Social Science
Articulating Hong Kong Identity: Leftist Organizing in the Global Financial Center
In response to perceived violations of Hong Kong’s special autonomy, as enshrined in the “One China, Two Systems” framework, by mainland China, mass protests broke out in the city from 2019-2020. Viewing the city’s unique geopolitical position through cultural scripts, popular media framed the city’s pro-democracy movement in distinct ideological terms, stating that the residents of the financial hub were fighting for freedom and capitalism in the face of increased encroachment by “communist” mainland China. However, this tidy framework suggesting protestors took on right-leaning identities fails to account for the complex realities of organizing. Indeed, the recent movement showcased protestors choosing leftist tactics such as anarchist protest structures and unionization under the banner of Localism, an ideology calling for Hong Kong independence. Current scholarship however, ignores left-right ideologies in favor of the dominant pro-democracy versus pro-Beijing divide, despite the seemingly low predictive power of cultural scripts. My investigation thus fills the gap in existing literature, exploring this seeming incongruity between popular narratives and activists’ left-leaning tactical choices to understand their pursuit of Localism and identity articulation.