Beyond the Peak of Mobilization: Understanding Movement Continuity in Hong Kong, 2014 to 2022

Lecture by Professor Francis L.F. Lee, the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


Many scholars have noted a troubling tendency for social movement scholars to focus on moments of extraordinary mobilization rather than movements with ups and downs, twists and turns. In the case of Hong Kong, while the Umbrella Movement in 2014 and the Anti-Extradition Protests in 2019 captured the world's attention, what happened in-between the two peaks of mobilization? And what happened after 2019 and the establishment of National Security Law in 2020? This talk will discuss three different types of processes during movement abeyance. First, the Umbrella Movement led to the outburst of social and political energy, which sedimented into new organizational and associational forces after the movement, strengthening the abeyance structure of the pro-democracy movement. Second, the Umbrella Movement also led to the increasing appeal of localism, and the relational dynamics between the state and the pro-democracy movement contributed to an ideological shift among the public. Third, while the Chinese state's hardline approach to governing Hong Kong after the protest events 2019 and 2020 has prevented these two processes from recurring, what emerges is a politics of preservation as pro-democracy citizens and activists strive for ways to maintain their values, identities, and connections in covert and disguised manners.

Speaker bio

Dr Francis Lee is a Professor at and Director of School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). He obtained his Bachelor's and Master’s degrees at the CUHK, and PhD at Stanford University. Professor Lee is the International Communication Association (ICA) fellow. His research interests are journalism studies, political communication, public opinion and public discourse, media and social movements, and changes in cultural values. His recent work focuses on press freedom and political change, media and collective memory of political events, media and political scandals, and postmaterialism in Hong Kong. One of his books important for this discussion series is with Joseph Man (2018) “Media and protest logics in the digital era: Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement,” published by Oxford University Press.

The event is free, but please sign up here.