Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (MPHIL)


Political Sciences

First Advisor

Prof Tam Wai-keung

Second Advisor

Prof Wong Yiu-chung


Civil disobedience, as a specific means of protest, has drawn intellectual attention worldwide, but few scholars in Hong Kong have studied this means of protest in depth. Focusing on the reasons why civil disobedience movements have emerged in Hong Kong, this research has used a case study methodology. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted with people that participated in many of Hong Kong’s previous civil disobedience movements, from the Yau Ma Tei Boat People Incident of the 1970s, to the Anti-Public Order Ordinance demonstrations and Citizens’ Radio Incident of the early 2000s. In addition to describing how the emergence of specific civil disobedience movements happened, this research also explores the sociopolitical conditions from which civil disobedience movements have emerged in the Hong Kong context.

By interviewing key informants in each case (9 in total), a general pattern of the emergence of civil disobedience in Hong Kong has been found. Departing from the well-established studies on civil disobedience that have focused on the particular ideologies of participants or specific characteristics of movement leaders, this study contributes to the study of the sociopolitical conditions that led to emergence. All the cases studied point to the fact that the employment of civil disobedience as a protest means is a calculated response to delegitimizing effect, with the existence of civil society.

Recommended Citation

Chan, K. H. (2014). The emergence of civil disobedience movements in Hong Kong (Master's thesis, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from