What’s Next

When Nation Building Fails: How Chinese People React to the Rise of Hong Kong Identity

Date: March 29, 2024

Time: 10 pm Hong Kong Time; 9 am Central Time; 10 am Eastern Time; 7 am Pacific Time

Speaker: Gary Leung, Yale University

Discussant: Siu-yau Lee, Hong Kong Baptist University

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How do mainland Chinese citizens react to the rise of Hong Kong identity? Many states adopt assimilationist policies in an attempt to create a cohesive national identity among their populations. Yet, despite numerous failed nation-building efforts, we have limited understanding of how such failures impact the sentiments of the majority group. In this study, I use a survey experiment to understand the effects of Hong Kong’s identity crisis on the political and nationalist attitudes of mainland Chinese citizens, with some participants receiving accurate data regarding the proportion of Hong Kong residents who identify as Chinese. I find that among the participants with prior beliefs above the truth, the information about Hong Kong’s people identity weakened their perception of China’s international standing and reduced their national identification. Additionally, the results reveal that preferences for stricter Hong Kong policies arise from a negative update about the nation-building effectiveness, while support for more aggressive Taiwan policies is driven by a positive update. These findings enhance our understanding of intergroup dynamics and the motivations behind efforts to impose a national identity on minority groups.


speaker Gary Leung is a third-year PhD student in Political Science at Yale University, focusing on nationalism, intergroup relations, and political psychology in non-democratic contexts.


commentator Siu-yau LEE is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and International Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University. His research focuses on immigration politics, inter-group relations, identity, and population policies.

More to Come

04/2024: Legal Resistance under the Shadow of Authoritarianism: The Struggle for the Rule of Law in Post-Umbrella Hong Kong

Speaker : Eric Yan-ho Lai

To Be Announced.