Media, Social Mobilisation and Mass Protests in Post-colonial Hong Kong: The Power of a Critical Event (Paperback) book cover

Media, Social Mobilisation and Mass Protests in Post-colonial Hong Kong

The Power of a Critical Event

By Francis L. F. Lee, Joseph M. Chan

© 2012 – Routledge

268 pages | 15 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415532303
pub: 2012-02-06
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pub: 2010-12-21
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pub: 2010-12-23
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Since 2003, Hong Kong has witnessed a series of large-scale protests which have constituted the core of a reinvigorated pro-democracy movement. What drove tens of thousands of citizens to the street on a yearly basis to protest? What were the social and organizational bases of the protest movement? How did media and public discourses affect the protests’ formation and mobilization? How did the protesters understand their own actions and the political environment? This book tackles such questions by using a wide range of methods, including population and protest onsite surveys, media content analysis, and in-depth interviews with activists, politicians, and protest participants. It provides an account of the "self-mobilization processes" behind the historic July 1, 2003 protest, and how the protest kick-started new political dynamics and discursive contestations in the public arena which not only turned a single protest into a series of collective actions constituting a movement, but also continually shaped the movement’s characteristics and influence. The book is highly pertinent to readers interested in political development in Hong Kong, and as a case study on "the power of critical events," the book also has broad implications on the study of both media politics and social movements in general.


"Lee and Chan's book represents the most serious and comprehensive scholarly effort to analyze the July 1, 2003 mass protest and its implications to date. It is a masterpiece that integrates traditional qualitative methods, like media discourse analysis, elite and focus group interviewing, with rigorous quantitative analysis." - Olivia Cheung (St. Anthony's College, University Of Oxford); St Antony's International Review 2013.

"In short, this book sheds light on the political culture of Hong Kong in its struggle for democracy and makes a significant contribution to the literature of media politics and social movements. What is particularly valuable is the rich longitudinal data collected from 2003 to 2008 through population and protest onsite surveys, media content analysis, and in-depth interviews with activists, politicians, and protestors. Scholars of social movements will find this book both inspiring and informative." - Wai-chi Chee, PhD, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Journal of International and Global Studies

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: From a Critical Event to Ritualistic Protests 2. Public Opinion on the Eve of Explosion 3. Organization, Communication, and Mobilization 4. The Reshaping of Public Discourse 5. Constructing the Call for Democracy 6. Contextual Changes and Strategic Responses 7. Development of the Movement Organization 8. The Social Bases of Continual Protests 9. Making Sense of Participation 10. The June 4 Connection

About the Authors

Francis L. F. Lee is Associate Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong. Joseph M. Chan is Professor of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He also served as the Changjiang Chair Professor of Journalism at Fudan University, Shanghai.

The authors also co-edited Media and Politics in Post-handover Hong Kong (also published by Routledge, 2008).

About the Series

Media, Culture and Social Change in Asia Series

The aim of this series is to publish original, high-quality work by both new and established scholars in the West and the East, on all aspects of media, culture and social change in Asia. New proposals are welcome, and should be sent in the first instance to the series editor, Stephanie Donald, at

Editorial Board:

Gregory N. Evon, University of New South Wales
Devleena Ghosh, University of Technology, Sydney
Peter Horsfield, RMIT University, Melbourne
Michael Keane, Curtin University
Tania Lewis, RMIT University, Melbourne
Vera Mackie, University of Wollongong
Kama Maclean, University of New South Wales

Laikwan Pang, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Gary Rawnsley, Aberystwyth University
Ming-yeh Rawnsley, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Jo Tacchi, Lancaster University
Adrian Vickers, University of Sydney
Jing Wang, MIT
Ying Zhu, City University of New York



Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General