The 2019 Social Unrest: Revisiting the Pathway of Radicalization in Hong Kong from 2008 to 2012 – An Explorative Approach with General Strain Theory

2020/12

This study is conducted by the Researcher of the Program of Peace and Conflict Studies at the Basic Law Foundation. The article’s purpose is to provide pioneer criminological perspective to explore and explain the causes and the evolution of right-wing radicalization in Hong Kong context from the year of 2008 to 2012 through the scope of Agnew’s general strain theory. Previous researches mainly focused on the relationship between political factors and radicalization; therefore this study aims to revisit the birth and rise of right-wing radicalization in Hong Kong through the lens of socio-economic aspects.

Hong Kong has experienced an unprecedented destructive radical right social unrest since June 2019, triggered by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders Amendment Bill by the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Social unrest involves a tangle of interrelated questions, hence the article’s purpose is to provide pioneer criminological perspective to explore and explain the causes and the evolution of right-wing radicalization in Hong Kong context from the year of 2008 to 2012 through the scope of Agnew’s general strain theory. Previous researches mainly focused on the relationship between political factors and radicalization; therefore this study aims to revisit the birth and rise of right-wing radicalization in Hong Kong through the lens of socio-economic aspects. It has made a critical step to provide direction and consolidation for future analysis relating to the actual root causes of right-wing radicalization and social unrest in Hong Kong, as it suggests that the element of high magnitude of stress caused by economic inequality, harsher living environment, degrading quality of life and the increasing socio-cultural tensions and radical right ideological infiltration had created a perfect atmosphere for radicalization and the spread of extremism. Therefore, the theory could be a useful theoretical framework to help researchers to conduct future studies relating to radicalization and social unrest in Hong Kong and to help policy-makers to formulate public policies that focus on addressing strain issues against local citizens.