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“You have to fight for it”

The Hong Kong Protests 2019 – 2020 and the Power of Social Movements on Democratization

Linnea Bernö

Political Science C (Bachelor Thesis) Department of Government

Uppsala University, spring 2020 Supervisor: Katrin Uba

Word count: 12 411

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Abstract

In the last decade, social movements have demonstrated their power of bringing change to societies, often in terms of democratization. At the same time, the level of democracy in the world has been established as decreasing. It is therefore interesting to study whether the increase of social movements is related to the decline of democracy. The aim of this thesis was thus to explore the perception of democracy amongst activists in a social movement calling for democratization. This was done by conducting semi-structured interviews with activists of varying degrees of participation in the Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020. The results of the study indicated that a majority of the activists regarded democracy from the perspective of liberal democracy, stressing the importance of elections and protection of human rights through a well-grounded constitution. Nevertheless, some of the respondents sought more than a fundamental description of democracy, incorporating elements of

deliberation and participation as well. The Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020 have not seen the end yet. Likewise, the existence of social movements will forever remain through variations of repertoires. The significance of what conception of democracy motivates activists to organise themselves through civil society movements remains to be academically covered in full. Thus, future studies of democratization should continue to shed light on the role of the civil society in democratization processes.

Keywords:​ Democracy, Hong Kong, Protests, Democratization, Social Movement

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction 4

1.1 Introduction 4

1.2 Purpose and research question 5

1.3 Disposition 6

2. Historical Background 6

2.1 Protests in Hong Kong 2003 – 2014 6

2.2 The Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020 8

3. Theory and Previous Research 10

3.1 Democratization and social movements 10

3.2 Conceptions of democracy 12

3.2.1 Liberal democracy 14

3.2.2 Liberal deliberative democracy 15

3.2.3 Participatory democracy 15

3.2.4 Participatory deliberative democracy 16

3.3 Democratization in Hong Kong 17

3.4 Hypothesis 18

4. Methodology and Research Design 19

4.1 Research design 19

4.2 Selection of respondents 20

4.3 Case selection 21

4.4 Structure of interviews 22

4.5 Ethical considerations 23

4.6 Operationalization of material 24

4.7 Delimitations of the study 27

5. Results and Analysis 27

5.1 Liberal democracy 27

5.2 Liberal deliberative democracy 29

5.3 Participatory democracy 30

5.4 Participatory deliberative democracy 31

5.5 Discussion 31

6. Final Remarks 34

7. Bibliography 35

7.1 Literature 35

7.2 Electronic sources 37

8. Appendices 40

8.1 Appendix I: List of conducted interviews 40

8.2 Appendix II: Interview guide 42

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1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction

The role of civil society is becoming more apparent in the world. Social movements in the last ten years have manifested how they inhibit the power to change societies. The Arab Uprising beginning in 2011 unveiled how dictators could be removed through grassroot mobilization and in 2019 alone, a wave of intensive mobilization spread across the planet.

From Beirut, Bogota and Paris to Algeria, Chile, Hong Kong, Iran and Sudan, protests have marked an unprecedented political mobilization. This civil resistance has brought down political leaders, both democratically elected and dictators (Wright 2019). The phenomenon of a politically active civil society expressing public opinion through protests has become a widespread tool for participation in politics around the globe. At the same time, the level of democracy in the world is decreasing even though an abundance of movements are calling for fundamental rights (Repucci 2020).

Therefore, it becomes important to regard how social movements can affect democratization in the world. The successful example of Tunisia where a social movement brought down the previous dictatorship and replaced it with democratic rule demonstrates one example of how much impact civil society actually can have on democratization. Furthermore, academia has not yet seen an extensive investigation of this linkage and should shed light on the influence civil society has on democratization processes. One way to address this is to consider what drives a social movement which holds democracy as its fundamental aim and more

specifically investigate how activists participating in a movement regard the concept of democracy.

On the 9th of June 2019, over a million people took to the streets in Hong Kong as a means to show their discontent of a proposed amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance, also called the extradition bill (Duhalde & Huang 2019). The protest called for the amendment to be discarded by the Hong Kong government, as it was seen as threatening the freedom of speech in Hong Kong since extradition to mainland China would be made possible. This first large-scale mobilization led

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to the beginning of a movement of protests that almost half-way into 2020 still have not seen its end (Johannesson 2020). Furthermore, with large protests against suggested amendments in the Basic Law (Hong Kong’s constitution) by the Hong Kong government in 2003, 2012, 2014 and with the current protests in 2019 – 2020, the people of Hong Kong have been making demands for democratic processes continuously for over two decades (Rühlig 2020).

The protests can thus be said to relate to the development of democracy in Hong Kong and in regards to the spotlight of international attention that the protests have experienced, the current movement has become a prominent case of struggle for democratization in international media.

As the Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020 are still not over, considering activists in Hong Kong continue to call for action by the government, it becomes of interest to look at what

democracy actually means for the activists in the protests – what it is that drives the movement forward and what the activists participating in it want to achieve in terms of democratization. Since the protests in Hong Kong are extensive in terms of participants and repertoires, a complexity of what really is at the core of the activists conception of democratic rule can be assumed to exist. Investigating how the activists in Hong Kong regard democracy can therefore distinguish both what the overall aim of the movement is, but also what it is that makes people participate in social movements with democratizing aims.

1.2 Purpose and research question

With this in mind, the aim of the thesis is to examine how activists participating in the Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020 perceive democracy as a concept. The study does not aim to label or prove that the protests are striving towards one specific definition of democracy, but rather wants to explore how activists partaking in movements for democratic development regard democracy as a concept of governmental rule. Using an empirical investigation into what conception of democracy the political activists in Hong Kong strive towards, this thesis seeks to contribute to the academic debate concerning democratization and the role of civil society in political changes.

How do the activists participating in the Hong Kong protests 2019 regard the concept of democracy?

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1.3 Disposition

The paper will begin with a review of the historical background regarding previous,

large-scale social movements and protests in Hong Kong after 1997 to provide a foundation of the situation regarding democratic social movements in Hong Kong. Thereafter, a

presentation of previous research on democratization and social movements as well as a discussion on the theoretical framework for the study follows, with a section on previous research on democracy in Hong Kong and a theoretical hypothesis. After that, the research design is presented, including discussions on methodology, selection of material and

delimitations of the study. Following this, the results together with the analysis are presented and considered. Finally, the conclusion and final remarks end the paper.

2. Historical Background

The following section will provide a background to the studied case. It will present a

summary of the historical background of the occurrence of protests in Hong Kong and go on to give an overview of the events of the Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020.

2.1 Protests in Hong Kong 2003 – 2014

Hong Kong has a history of protests. Even during the colonial rule of Britain, strikes and organised marches were held by the people of Hong Kong (Duhalde & Huang 2019).

However, since the handover from British colonial rule to Hong Kong becoming a ​Special Administrative Region (SAR)​ of China in 1997, protests have become more frequent and seem larger in scale than before (Ibid.). Even if Hong Kong was guaranteed 50 years of effective self-rule without Chinese influence in the agreement for the handover, several attempts by Beijing have been made to exert control over the territory, casting doubt on the integrity of the “one country, two systems” policy (Gunia 2019). The background of the thesis will focus on the protests against the national security reform in 2003, the 2012 anti-National Education Reform protests, the Umbrella Movement in 2014 and the ongoing anti-extradition bill protests that began in 2019, as they make out the largest protest

movements in Hong Kong since the regime handover in 1997.

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In 2003, only six years after the re-integration of Hong Kong to China began, protests against a national security reform took place on the first of July. Referred to as Article 23, the

anti-subversion legislation brought forth by the government of Hong Kong drew great criticism from Hong Kongers who worried it would infringe on their freedoms as the bill required that treason, secession, sedition and subversion against the Chinese government would become prohibited (Gunia 2019; Duhalde & Huang 2019). Around half a million citizens came together and marched to the government offices in protest to the article, which eventually was withdrawn (Gunia 2019; Duhalde & Huang 2019). Every year since, people have marched on the first of July to remember the outcome of the initial protest.

Furthermore, in 2012 the Hong Kong government attempted to initiate a course called “Moral and National Education” in the curriculum of all schools in the city. The course would

include topics on China’s history, culture and national identity (Gunia 2019) and it was feared that it would be used as political propaganda to praise the benefits of Chinese communism and criticize democracy, seeking to “brainwash” the youth in Hong Kong (Duhalde & Huang 2019). In response to this, a group of secondary school students founded the Scholarism movement, with 15-year old Joshua Wong Chi-fung as their leader, which was joined by parents and teachers (Ibid.). At the end of July, some 90,000 people protested against the curriculum change in support of the students (Ibid.). On July 29th a march was held by the protestors that resulted in an occupation of the forecourt of the government headquarters which lasted until the 8th of September, when then Chief Executive C.Y. Leung announced the new curriculum would not be mandatory and in effect withdrew the proposal (Gunia 2019; Duhalde & Huang 2019; Lau, Nip & Wan 2012; Liu 2012).

Only two years later in 2014, the Umbrella Movement was ignited by the discontent over how Beijing denied Hong Kong a free election of Chief Executive in 2017. Demands for reformation of Hong Kong’s electoral system to grant universal suffrage in elections for the city’s leader were put forth, as the current system only allowed voters to select their Chief Executive from a list of candidates vetted by the government in Beijing (Gunia 2019).

Beginning with a class boycott on September 15th, the movement then turned into a

spontaneous and resilient street occupation for democracy that lasted 79 days which brought international attention from around the world (Ma & Cheng 2019, 11; Duhalde & Huang

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2019). Instead of meeting the demands for a free election of Chief Executive, the leaders in Hong Kong and in Beijing neither conceded nor suppressed the movement. Rather, they framed the mass protests as violent and tried to undermine the spontaneous and civic nature of the movement (Ma & Cheng 2019, 12-13). The occupation by the protestors resulted in clashes between police and demonstrators, and the movement gained international attention, however, this was also due to the politeness and fluidity of the protestors, as they handed out free food and water to fellow demonstrators (Gunia 2019). Furthermore, despite the protests having the largest turnout in the history of Hong Kong, with 1.3 to 1.45 million people participating in the movement, the Umbrella Movement lost momentum after months of protest and ended without any concession by the Chinese or Hong Kong government (Ma &

Cheng 2019, 12).

2.2 The Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020

The Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020 comprehends the demonstrations and events organised by protestors following the proposal of amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance, also called the extradition bill, for handling of extradition requests (Chan 2019). Beginning on March 31st 2019, thousands of people gathered on the streets of Hong Kong to protest the extradition bill as it came to be called and since then protests have continued into 2020 (Singh & Jim 2019; Johannesson 2020). What prompted the protests was the threat that the extradition bill put on the

independence of the judicial power in Hong Kong, as the bill would allow for extradition of law offenders to mainland China. Article two in the Basic Law of Hong Kong states that “the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [is] to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final

adjudication, in accordance with the provisions of this Law” (Basic Law 2017). As the

Chinese government previously had used various methods of apprehension of people who has renounced the rule of the Communist Party of China, many feared the extradition bill would be used by China to arrest democracy supporters and the political opposition in Hong Kong, which would impose upon their freedom of expression (Johannesson 2020).

Throughout the summer of 2019, the protests developed in size and methods of protest. On June 9, more than a million people took to the streets (Duhalde & Huang 2019) and a little

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more than a week later on June 16 an estimated two million people gathered in the protests demanding the extradition bill to be completely withdrawn and calling for Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation (BBC 2019). Every weekend people came together in Hong Kong to participate in the protests. In response to the protests, the government of Hong Kong through Lam made small concessions to the protests, but these were deemed inadequate in terms of how the proposed bill could lead to unjust extradition of pro-democratic people to mainland China which would challenge the system of “one country, two systems” (South China Morning Post (a) 2019). The protests that started out as peaceful occupations of the city’s streets became mixed with both instances of more violent protesting, such as the trashing of the China Liaisons Office, and peaceful marches along various districts in Hong Kong (Ibid.). As the demonstrations grew, the police force in Hong Kong also played a part in how the events developed. The use of tear gas and with accounts of violent treatment of protestors spurred on the activists to continue to fight for their cause using protests. After the summer when an abundance of protestors had been arrested for taking part in the protests and people had been hurt in clashes between the police and people marching (BBC 2019), this boiled down to the creation of the five demands of the protests. As formulated on a website for the protestors;

“Five Demands; Not One Less “五大訴求,缺一不可”

1. Full withdrawal of the extradition bill.

2. Retraction of “riot” classification of protest.

3. An independent commission of inquiry into alleged police brutality.

4. Amnesty for arrested protesters.

5. Dual genuine universal suffrage.”

(LIHKG 2019)

With the protests continuing into the autumn months, the demands were consistently called for by the protestors. On October 23, after months of protesting, the extradition bill was formally withdrawn (Singh & Jim 2019). Even so, it was too late as the movement at this time was fighting for more than the removal of the bill and the remaining four demands were as established as the withdrawal of the extradition bill. Thus, protests continued and saw some of the most violent clashes between protestors and police yet in November 2019

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(Robels 2019). Demonstrators sustained the protests into the beginning of 2020, making them the longest sustained protests in the history of Hong Kong and calmed with the spread of the Covid-19 virus in January and February (Johannesson 2020). However, approaching the anniversary of the beginning of the movement, the protests have not yet ended as people continue to gather to demonstrate (Jim & Pang 2020).

3. Theory and Previous Research

This section outlines the theoretical foundation for the thesis and illustrates the importance of studying the impact of civil society on democratization further. The chapter begins with a discussion on the previous research on the relationship between democratization and social movements, and is then followed by the theoretical framework of conceptions of democracy, discussing the definitions of interest for the study. The presentation on previous research on democracy in Hong Kong is thereafter demonstrated. Finally, a hypothesis regarding how activists in the Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020 regard democracy is formulated.

3.1 Democratization and social movements

There is no denying that the fields of democratization and social movements in political science are two thoroughly studied areas in their respective approach. Encompassing theories on institution building and the outcomes of democratic processes, democratization research has created discussions on liberalization, transition and consolidation of democratic societies.

The Cambridge dictionary defines democratization as “the process of making countries or organizations use democratic ways of making decisions” (Cambridge Dictionary (b) 2020) and one of the main questions for research about democratization regards why some countries become democratic while others do not. Explanations for democratization take off in four different approaches: structural, strategic, social forces and economic. These approaches or traditions have together forged the landscape of democratization studies (Teorell 2012, 17).

The structural approach is grounded in Seymour Martin Lipset’s (1959) modernization theory and points at the structural accounts on what explains democratization (Ibid., 17), whilst the strategic approach discusses a process model of democratization, including phases of democracy development (Ibid., 19). In turn, social forces of democratization seeks to examine the origins of democratic rule in the characteristics of and relationships among

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social classes in society (Ibid., 22). Additionally, the economic approach uses tools of economics to understand regime transitions and democratic stability (Ibid., 24). Combining critiques of the approaches and elaborating their main ideas is leading democratization research forward.

In turn, social movement research regards the organisation of public opinion and actions taken by civil societies during social movements. For example, in ​Power in Movement​, Sidney Tarrow (2011) provides a foundation for social movement theory, bringing together the main theoretical framework in the research field and then develops a synthesis of

contentious politics regarding the life cycle of social movements. In addition, Tarrow defines social movements as “collective challenges, based on common purposes and social

solidarities, in sustained interaction with elites, opponents, and authorities” (2011, 9). Social movements can thus take on many forms and vary in their campaigning for their causes.

Furthermore, reviewing previous social movement research, Paris Aslanidis also notes on the relevance of investigating the motivation behind why individuals mobilize and participate in social movements (2015, 20).

Nevertheless, Donatella della Porta (2013) points out that the connection between the two fields of democratization and social movements have seldom been investigated and this study aims to contribute to the understanding of their relationship. The paradox of democratization studies mainly focusing on the elites that take part in democratization processes and social movement studies mostly looking at established democracies creates a gap in the research regarding how civil society can affect democratization (della Porta 2013, 125). Certainly, the example of the successful revolution in Tunisia during the Arab Spring shows the relevance of how the impact social movements can have in processes of regime change. Suh Doowon (2006) provides a review on the role of civil society in democratic processes, stating that institutionalization of movements is to be regarded as a mechanism for consolidating and advancing democracy. Doowon highlights that for this to happen, social movements must be incorporated into an existing political system, in which reformist political forces already possess a degree of legitimacy and measure of power (2006, 184-185). Although, the institutionalizing of social movements can, even if it at first makes them a political force alongside the state and capital, diminish their focus on social transformations (Ibid., 176).

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Social movements can thereby, even if it may not always be to the advantage of their original demands, become a part of the political system through institutionalization, allowing for influence in democratization processes. Be that as it may, if a movement becomes institutionalized as a party to engage with power elites, it is no longer a movement but a political interest group (Ibid., 178). It is therefore complex to draw a line regarding where the influence of civil society on democratization begins and ends. Nonetheless, it is clear that a social movement must be separate from the system of governance of a state.

However, the institutionalization of social movement is not the only way in which civil society can impact a democratization process. It is but one example of the empirical linkage of cause and effect between social movements and democratization. Even if it might not always be visible, such as in the way of institutionalization, social movements regarding human rights or similar purposes often have struggled for democracy and contributed to the weakening of dictators for example, as protests have been known to start the liberalization process and also can be active during transition and consolidation (della Porta 2013, 133 &

149). The complexity and multidimensionality of democratization implies that there is no fixed, universal set of necessary and sufficient conditions for it to occur (Doowon 2006, 188-189). Thus, the impact social movements can have on democratization processes is flexible and can affect in various measures.

3.2 Conceptions of democracy

How then is democracy to be defined? As a conception of governance, “democracy” is relatively young even if it was coined during ancient Greece, since contemporary established democratic states have been formed only during the last couple of centuries, with reference to the American and French revolutions. The largest pillar that democracy has rested upon during modern development could be said to be the electoral aspect, that the people within the borders of a state get to elect their own leadership. However, democracy can be defined as much more than that. Donatella della Porta (2013) points out the paradoxical nature of

democracy, how the number of democratic countries are growing, yet a reduction of

democracy is seen from a worldwide perspective as citizens’ satisfaction of the performance of the states within so called “existing democracies” is flailing. The idea della Porta

underscores regarding the constant change of democracy is important to note. Through

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self-reflexive practices, the definition of democracy is in a permanent process of definition and redefinition. Therefore, there is not one true meaning that can be attached to democracy as a concept (della Porta 2013, 5). Consequently, one should look at democratic practices and processes from various conceptions of democracy and in ​Can Democracy be Saved?​ della Porta examines through a combination of normative theory and empirical analysis four conceptions of democracy that are meant to serve as models for how democracy works

depending on what legitimizes a state as democratic (Ibid., 6-7). The reasoning in della Portas work is based on the discussion on the defining of democracy in the field of political science.

Thus, the definitions and descriptions of each concept will rely on the considerations done by della Porta. Furthermore, the conceptions will be discussed and used for the thesis to

investigate more specifically what type of rule the protestors in the Hong Kong protests call for and how they regard democracy. In Table 1, della Porta’s conceptions of democracy are depicted.

Table 1. Conceptions of democracy

Majority vote Deliberation

Delegation Liberal democracy Liberal deliberative democracy Participation Radical, participatory democracy Participatory deliberative

democracy (Ibid., 8)

Before going into what each separate concept indicates, the dimensions of delegation and participation as well as majority vote and deliberation will be briefly presented. In the debate of democratic regimes in normative political theory, the principle of representation, that the people are allowed to delegate its leadership, is often balanced by the presence of

participatory spaces. In the same sense, the majoritarian principle, which is central to liberal definitions of democracy, is balanced by the presence of deliberative spaces (Ibid., 6). Thus, della Porta constructs these four concepts of democracy: ​liberal democracy​, ​liberal

deliberative democracy​, ​participatory democracy ​and ​participatory deliberative democracy​.

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3.2.1 Liberal democracy

The conception of liberal democracy is typically what is most often being referred to in democracy studies. It stems from Robert Dahl’s definition of the fundamental characteristics of democracy, indicating that “continuing responsiveness of the government to the

preferences of its citizens, considered as political equals” is at the core of democracy (Dahl 1971, 1). Through this definition, the normative element stating that democracy should involve a correspondence between politicians’ decisions and the wishes of the population is illuminated. That the idea of universal suffrage following the “one head, one vote” principle should entail with democracy (della Porta 2013, 13). Elections and the electoral aspect of democracy thus becomes the focus for the conception of liberal democracy, that delegation together with the principle of the majority vote make out the fundament for democracy, as depicted in Table 1. Therefore, according to this conception, regimes that guarantee the right to vote to all citizens are democratic.

However, important to note is that elections in this instance must function as elements of accountability, making it vital for them to involve competition among candidates, that the competition is fair and that the elections are repeated regularly, making sure the elected representatives have a certain time to account for in terms of their actions (Ibid., 13-14). It is also to be noted that democracy from this perspective involves an institutionalized system of representation, which should be respected. Another important aspect regarding liberal democracy is that it is not only relying on the electoral legitimation, but that there also is a large focus on how the constitution is designed and practiced. According to della Porta, this is to limit the power of the representative powers in order to protect what might not be covered by the majority vote (2013, 15). Therefore, obstructing decision making that can contribute to corruption and setting in place the protection of certain rights for the population also

legitimizes liberal democracy as a concept.

Although, there are few challenges that liberal democracy face in regards to representation.

Parties have made out the legitimizing device for liberal democracy, but recent research has found that the capacity for political parties to function as the mediators between the political institutions and civil society has declined (Ibid., 24). Parties have lost their trust from the civil

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society in industrial societies, which has led to partisan dealignment (Dalton 1996, 194) and which in turn has electoral effects as participation in elections is likely to decrease as well (della Porta 2013, 25-26). Furthermore, liberal democracy as a conception is built on the idea of the national state. In democratic international institutions, states do not compete over votes or use other similar ways of competition for decision making (Ibid., 28). Liberal democracy therefore does not translate to a larger perspective in that sense. In a similar approach, the weakening of welfare states also challenges the liberal conception of democracy, as the trust in its institutions decline when a particular wellness cannot be guaranteed for all citizens.

This has paved the way for other conceptions of democracy to become established, able to deal with these types of contemporary changes (Ibid., 35).

3.2.2 Liberal deliberative democracy

Regarding liberal deliberative democracy, this conception of democracy came out of criticism of the majority vote. As a second alternative to liberal conceptions of democracy, liberal deliberative democracy stresses the importance of the communicative dimension and the force of the better argument. In this sense, decisions are not made through the counting of votes, but instead through the process of how opinions are formed and by convincing others of one’s own argument, attaining everybody’s approval (Ibid., 62). Since the conception is grounded in Jürgen Habermas (1981) theory of deliberation, the liberal deliberative

conception of democracy should not be identified with the principle of how the majority wins over the minority in decision making, even if the decision process usually will come to this end. Instead, the liberal deliberative conception is attentive to the way in which preferences are formed in civil society and democratic institutions, in contrast to how the liberal

conception could be said to more ressemble a market where candidates try to sell their preferences to the voters (della Porta 2013, 10). Liberal deliberative democracy is thus a way to address controversies and reach consensus through the use of institutions, as it is entwined to the concept of liberal democracy.

3.2.3 Participatory democracy

Participatory democracy in contrast to liberal democracy emphasizes the need to create conditions for real equality, instead of formal equality characterized by the “one head, one vote” principle (Ibid., 37). With this comes the requirement that a certain level of

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participation is needed to legitimize the political system, meaning that involvement of citizens beyond elections is needed to overcome deep conflicts within society (Ibid., 9). As participatory democracy became established as a critique of liberal democracy, it highlights how “participation at all levels, institutional or not, is oriented to rebalancing power

inequalities that the liberal conception does not question” as it instead takes the step from the so called “democracy of the parties” to “democracy of the public”, with channels of

formation of public opinion being free from ideological control meaning that public opinion does not reflect the electoral preferences (Ibid., 38-39). What is needed then in participatory democracy beyond fair elections is free spaces, such as participation in social movements or other associations which often broaden the personal identities of participants and in turn offers satisfaction and self-realization (Ibid., 41). The challenge of liberal democracies, where parties are losing members and trust, the concept of participatory democracy could overcome, as it normatively suggests the need to increase the number and power of arenas open to citizens’ participation. Concretely this has been achieved by existing democracies by multiplying channels of participation and extending the civil, political and social rights making participation possible. This could be through reforms that have increased participation in public institutions and also through recognition of the “right to dissent”, broadening participation in unconventional forms such as social movements and other

organisations (Ibid., 59). The aim of participatory democracy could therefore be regarded as a means to ensure the growth of the identities of the population and the protection of these through guaranteeing free spaces of public opinion formation.

3.2.4 Participatory deliberative democracy

The last of della Porta’s conceptions of democracy is participatory deliberative democracy, a combination of the two previous criticisms of liberal democracy, stressing both the need for deliberative and participatory spaces within democracies. Looking outside of the institutional focus of deliberative democracy as well as beyond the mass-mediated public sphere of participatory democracy to create spaces where the weakest groups in society can be empowered is important (Ibid., 10). This conception of democracy is thus calling for the formation of public spheres where, under conditions of equality, inclusiveness and

transparency, a communicative process based on reason (the force of the better argument) is able to transform individual preferences and reach decisions oriented to the public good

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(Ibid., 67). Democratic quality according to participatory deliberative democracy is measured by the possibility of elaborating ideas within discursive, open and public arenas, where the citizens play an active role in identifying problems and elaborating possible solutions. It is the opposite to both an unquestioning acceptance of democracy, where the professionals elected to govern are not to be disturbed until fresh elections are held, and a democracy of experts which is legitimized by the output (Ibid., 84).

3.3 Democratization in Hong Kong

As already mentioned, since the handover to China, Hong Kong has seen the emergence of an abundance of protests develop related to actions by the government. In the thesis, these protests are to be understood as synonymous with social movements, with them being collective challenges that are founded on common purposes expressed as varying demands.

The protests in Hong Kong raging from 2003 to 2020 are each to be seen as a separate social movement, since the demands and context of them has varied over time. However, from a larger perspective, the instances of protests could be seen as parts of an aggregating pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Although, since that would include the

development of political parties and some institutionalization, this study will not prescribe to that idea as then the question of the impact of social movements become distorted.

As a SAR of China, the rule of Hong Kong is partially democratic and non-democratic, as the Basic Law envisages a “gradual and orderly” democratic transition (Lam & Kuan 2008, 189) and also as Hong Kong has a long tradition of free civil society and rule of law providing shelter for opposition activities and social movements (Ma 2009, 61). This makes Hong Kong differ from other non-democracies. However, although the civil society is pluralistic in Hong Kong, it has relatively weak organisational resources and is rather detached from the political society (Ibid., 61). People in Hong Kong have had low estimations of their participatory capacities and have felt alienated from the political process, which in turn has created

frustration and could be understood as a cause for the development of protests (Lam & Kuan 2008, 198). ​Therefore, as social movements in the form of various differentiating protests have been utilized by the Hong Kong people, this way of participating through civil society could be regarded as their way to actually make demands and try to participate in the politics of Hong Kong​.

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The importance for the protests in Hong Kong thus seems to lie in the governance of the region, and if full democracy would be implemented in Hong Kong, the public would expect an increased role for local political parties, especially the pro-democratic parties (Sing 2005, 254). Since the departure of the British governance in 1997, local support for democracy has taken on greater importance (Ibid., 244). The idea of democracy that the Hong Kong people hold is hybrid, as it incorporates both liberal, institutional and substantive values drawn from Western notions of individualism and traditional Chinese understandings of good governance (Lam & Kuan 2008, 193). Additionally, previous research has found that discontent

regarding the political society strengthens rather than undermines the legitimacy of

democracy in Hong Kong, in comparison to other societies (Ibid., 201). Applying this to the current situation in Hong Kong and the protests should thus indicate a stronger support for democracy, as dissatisfaction of the government has been expressed through protesting for over the duration of a year at the time of the authoring of the thesis.

Significance of participation in the political society and the Hong Kong people’s ideas of democratic governance and the way Hong Kong should be ruled could therefore be assumed to play an integral part in the motivation behind the protests by the civil society. To study the impact that the social movements in form of protests have on the explicit democratization of Hong Kong as stated in the Basic Law, an investigation on how democracy as a conception is perceived by activists in the contemporary protests in Hong Kong will be used.

3.4 Hypothesis

With regards to the historical background and the review on existing literature on democratization and social movements and through the use of the theoretical framework presented by della Porta, a theoretical hypothesis can be formulated:

The activists partaking in the Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020 will in general regard democracy as a concept from a perspective of liberal democracy.

This hypothesis is expected for the study with regards to the current protests in Hong Kong and how previous research has highlighted the hybridity of democracy in Hong Kong. In

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terms of the Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020, the fifth demand of the movement concerning universal suffrage is presented as a specific demand of democratic processes in Hong Kong.

With it being portrayed as a consensus for what the protestors want to achieve with the protests and how universal suffrage also is brought up in the description of the liberal democracy concept, their linkage is established. Furthermore, since political discontent in Hong Kong strengthens the legitimacy of democracy in Hong Kong, looking at how the current protests have sustained and gained participants throughout Hong Kong it is stipulated that the spread of the fifth demand is what portrays the activists view on democracy the most.

Therefore, the conception of democracy as liberal becomes hypothesized as the concept which will converge with the material of the study the most in the analysis.

4. Methodology and Research Design

This section will describe the method of the thesis, with first presenting the research design and then proceeding to present the specific methodology used for the study. In the end, the operationalization of the theoretical framework on the material is introduced.

4.1 Research design

In order to investigate how activists in the Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020 regard

democracy as a concept, a descriptive, qualitative content analysis of collected material in the form of semi-structured interviews will be used. The study is described as a content analysis as it will analyse the material from semi-structured interviews after they have been

transcribed. Generally, content analysis is suitable for studies looking for the meaning or the processes in which meaning is given to something which suits the study (Esaiasson et al.

2017, 211). The content analysis will be systematic. Meaning that the material will be sorted and then analysed through operationalized categorization, so the idea structure and arguments of the interviewees will be clarified (Ibid., 213-214).

It could be argued that for a study like this, that aims at examining the perception of

democracy in a large-scale movement, a quantitative study using surveys as a method for the collection of material could be conducted to receive a broader perspective which could be more generalisable. However, qualitative interviews are well-suited for under researched

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topics and in cases where there is an interest in understanding people’s experiences and surroundings, which is the aim of the thesis (Esaiasson et al. 2017, 262; Kvale & Brinkmann 2014, 46). Also, using interviews as the method to collect material suited the time frame and extent of the thesis. Furthermore, by using a qualitative design of study, the interviewees were able to describe their perceptions of democracy using their own words.

The thesis is to be regarded as a descriptive study with an exploratory character, as it is aiming to examine ​how​ something is and also that the study in itself can answer the question of “what is this a case of?” (Teorell & Svensson 2016, 22; Esaiasson et al. 2017, 37-38).

Descriptive studies often get criticized as descriptions of reality seem less credible than explanatory studies that aim to give explanations for causes and effects. However, arguably, something cannot be fully explained until it first has been described, which highlights the importance for the conducting of descriptive studies (Teorell & Svensson 2016, 23).

Nevertheless, descriptive studies cannot fully recount for all aspects of the case of study as a complete description must be as broad as the phenomenon it is investigating (Ibid., 24). In comparison, an explanatory study would probably come at the research problem from an angle which would be looking at the ​why ​of what leads the activists to protest in Hong Kong (Esaiasson et al. 2017, 37). However, due to the extent of this study it is most suited to be understood as of descriptive character. Using interviews with democratic activists in Hong Kong and receiving an understanding for their conception of democracy also makes the study take on more of a descriptive form, as their answers are based on their experiences and are not to be regarded as the cause behind their actions.

4.2 Selection of respondents

As previously stated, this is a qualitative study using content-analysis of semi-structured interviews. The gathering of the material took place over video conference calls from April 20 to May 10 2020 and consists of a total of seven interviews. Out of these, six are to be considered as respondent interviews and one as an informant interview. The first conducted interview was with a researcher at the Swedish Institute for Foreign Affairs (“Utrikespolitiska institutet” in Swedish) who had knowledge of the history and politics of both Hong Kong and China. The researcher has not been a participant of the protests in any way and could thus provide an outside perspective on the situation whilst remaining central to the subject, which

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is integral in informant interviews (Ibid., 267). The six other interviews were conducted with a variety of activists in Hong Kong, since I wanted to examine the conception of democracy for people partaking in the Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020 as well as having some

experiences of previous movements. These six interviews will be regarded as respondent interviews in the study, as their answers are based on their personal opinions on democracy as a concept and their understanding of the situation in Hong Kong ((Ibid., 268). In contrast, for the informant interview I aimed at receiving an academically sound understanding of the occurrence of protests in Hong Kong, whilst for the respondent interviews their answers would illustrate their thoughts on democracy and also describe their experiences of protests in Hong Kong (Ibid., 235).

Beginning the collection of material with the informant interview paved the way to use snowball sampling, meaning that through the informant I was guided to some of the

respondents who in turn got me connected to other interviewees (Ibid., 190). For this study, using this method of selection of interviewees was the best suited option, as other types of strategic selection were not applicable. Learning that the informant had an abundance of contacts in Hong Kong affiliated with the current and previous protests and offered to help me with finding interviewees kept up the criteria of centrality for the selection of

interviewees. After receiving a few names and numbers from my informant, I conducted interviews with the contacts of the informant and then through them got in contact with other activists. All in all, the material collected came from a group of activists whose engagement and experience in protests in Hong Kong varied (see appendix I).

4.3 Case selection

Furthermore, even though the existence of a relationship between democratization and social movements has been pointed out by scholars previously, the empirical evidence is mixed as studied movements have differed in willingness to support democracy at the same time as the democratization processes vary as well (della Porta 2013, 126). The case of the Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020 was chosen and when reflecting on what social movement that would suit this study, three different criterias were considered: ​external validity​, ​internal validity and ​practicality​. In terms of external validity, the current Hong Kong protests sparked by the extradition bill was selected as the social movement to be studied as it is a representative case

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of a social movement promoting democracy in some type of form. Being a protest movement that is still occurring during the authoring of the thesis also allows for the answers of

respondents to be current and thus reflect the various views on democracy whilst the movement is taking place. Additionally, the thesis aligns itself to the belief that all science should have generalizing ambitions (Esaiasson et al. 2017, 154), even if the case of Hong Kong also can be said to be of a more extraordinary nature as the region is ultimately under the authoritarian rule of China. However, this does not change the level of or demands on democracy brought forth by the civil society and thereby also allows the study to be a part of research concerning social movements in authoritarian settings. Considering internal validity, looking closer at the activists conception of democracy in the Hong Kong protests and using the method of analysing interviews with activists aims at fulfilling this criteria. As internal validity in studies of descriptive character deals with collecting or receiving results that bring forth answers that answer the research question, the thesis thus aims to do this (Ibid., 59). In terms of practicality, dealing with the practical reasons behind the selection of a case, choosing the movement in Hong Kong was based on some significant factors (Ibid., 155).

These factors were for example language barriers, availability of news, and the personal experience of the author to the situation in Hong Kong. Having studied in Hong Kong during the autumn of 2019, when the protests kept on intensifying, I became interested in learning more about the reasons and motivations of the protestors. Due to the study being on bachelor level, practicality was prioritized highest in the case selection, however, the criterias of external and internal validity was never overlooked in importance. In conclusion, the Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020 were decided upon as the most suitable case for studying the conception of democracy within social movements, as news outlets would be found in english and interview subjects would have english as a second language as well.

4.4 Structure of interviews

In preparation for the interviews, I established an interview guide (see appendix II)

containing a couple of themes related to the perception of democracy which I wanted to raise founded on the historical background and the theoretical framework of the study. Using open-ended questions that related to the content of the study, I wanted to make sure the interviews stayed relevant and aimed to create a structure of the interview guide that would let the interviews be dynamic and lively (Esaiasson et al. 2017, 273-274). To approach the

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matter of reliability in the study to the possible extent, using leading questions would lead to lower reliability as they could affect the answers of the interviewees (Kvale & Brinkmann 2014, 295). Thus, the open-ended questions allowed for my respondents to engage in

wide-ranging discussions and let them fully articulate their responses. This in turn demanded more from me as the interviewer who became more of a conversational partner, needing to be attentive and pose follow-up questions that might diverge from the original script. However, in the end this would have prompted more developed answers to the questions and let the respondent “organise their answers to their own framework”, which in turn increases validity (Aberbach & Rockman 2002, 674). Another point made to procure validity was to ask for clarifications and summarize the interviewees answers during the interviews (Kvale &

Brinkmann 2014, 299). According to Kvale and Brinkmann, it is of importance that a researcher is critical and reflexive regarding one’s already formulated assumptions

concerning the interviews, so that one can be open and flexible to unexpected information and this I strived to carry out during the interviews (2014, 31-32).

Furthermore, during the interviews I was aware of potential error sources. For example, the observer’s effect, which deals with how an interview can become affected by the interplay between interviewer and interviewee (Esaiasson et al. 2017, 243). While applying measures to minimize the effect one can have on an event by adapting a neutral role, the impact of one’s presence cannot be completely eliminated, therefore it is important to interpret the material with attention to reflexivity to both how I as the interviewer interpreted the conversation as well as how the interviewees perceived me. As a young Swedish woman studying the case of the Hong Kong protests, I could have not been taken seriously as is the case of many women in the research field. However, I did not perceive this issue at all from both the informant and the respondents to my study. Being a student of political science with an interest in the Hong Kong protests and stating this to the interviewees could have

mitigated this, but foremost I perceived that the interviewees were excited to share their conceptions of the situation and be a part of the study.

4.5 Ethical considerations

When conducting interviews, it is essential that the interview subjects are informed about the purpose of the study before taking part in it, and that they know that their participation in the

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study is voluntary (Vetenskapsrådet 2002; Kvale & Brinkmann 2014, 107). Therefore, I made sure to communicate my intentions of the study to the interviewees and also ensured them that they would be granted full anonymity if they wanted. This was partly due to how the issue of conflict discussed is still ongoing, as well as how they ultimately were under the authoritarian rule of China, which could be harmful. Due to this, all respondent interviews have been labelled as anonymous for the sake of the interviewees. The information about confidentiality and anonymity was reiterated before each interview to make certain that the participants had received the information and were comfortable in the setting, letting them know they were free to withdraw at any time.

Since all interviews were done one-on-one over video conference calls, I wanted to use a recorder and explicitly asked for the interviewees consent to do this, which no one declined.

Conducting the interviews over video conference calls could maybe not be said to have been the ideal execution. However, since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, if another way to perform them (say like me travelling to Hong Kong for the interviews) would have been attempted it might not have worked out anyways. Thus the setting using video calls became the preferred method.

4.6 Operationalization of material

After the interviews were held, the recordings were transcribed word-by-word in terms of the quotations that were deemed to be used for the study, with small talk and information

irrelevant to the study not being transcribed.

To put the interviewees answers in context to the study, their answers were analysed through implementation of a coding scheme, see Table 2. Constructing the coding scheme myself, I wanted to make it as clear as possible to use when going over the transcriptions of the interviews. Esaiasson et al. highlights that it is important that descriptive studies start from a theoretical framework (2017, 137), meaning that the analytical tool should be able to gather the most essential and central aspects of the phenomenon I want to examine. Therefore, the scheme consists of the conceptions of democracy presented by della Porta (2013) which all have specific operationalizations.

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The interview material was then examined for statements that converged with the operationalizations through qualitative content analysis, and thereafter categorized as

representative for each conception of democracy with which it resonated. Using this scheme of analysis can also be stated to have strengthened the validity of the thesis, as it has allowed for testing of the answers to see if they coincide with the theoretical conceptions or not.

Important to note is that the operationalizations of the concepts liberal deliberative democracy and participatory deliberative democracy may seem similar to each other.

However, when analysing the interview material they will be assessed with the understanding of how the principle of majority vote is replaced by the principle of deliberation, but that the principle of delegation still is maintained in terms of liberal deliberative democracy.

Furthermore, for participatory deliberative democracy, both the principles of participation and deliberation are to be highlighted in the analysis, as portrayed by Table 2. With this in mind, the separation of statements that might verge on both will be maintained.

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Table 2. The four concepts of analysis and their operationalization

Conception of democracy

Operationalization

1. Liberal democracy - Elections deemed important for democracy - Pressing on universal suffrage and representation - Bringing up majority vote

- Allowing competition in the electoral process

- Design and practice of constitution deemed important

2. Liberal deliberative democracy

- Stressing importance of communication in democratic processes - Allowing the input of citizens’ opinions in the legislative processes - Touching on “the force of the better argument”, not a majority winning over a minority but an argument being better than the rest

- Talking about reaching consensus using institutionalized measures such as spaces for discussion, but not in the form of voting

3. Participatory democracy - Stressing the need to create conditions for real equality, going beyond the formal equality of liberal democracy and universal suffrage

- Democracy of the public, as in public opinion not being reflected in electoral candidates and ideological preferences

- Proclaiming an increase of arenas open to citizens’ participation in all aspects of society through extending civil, political and social rights - Ensure protection of citizens’ varying identities through guaranteeing free spaces of public opinion formation

4. Participatory

deliberative democracy

- Stressing both the need for deliberative and participatory spaces in a democracy as tools to empower the weakest groups in society - Calling for formation of public spheres where individual preferences can be transformed to reach decisions oriented to the public good - Supporting the possibility of open and public arenas for discussion, where citizens play an active role in identifying and solving problems

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4.7 Delimitations of the study

The delimitations of the thesis are mainly based in the method of study. To begin with, I was not able to conduct interviews with that many respondents, which leads to an uncertainty regarding how precise we can regard the results of the study. In the future, a more extensive study which includes interviews with more than six respondents could be constructed to further review how activists regard democracy in Hong Kong. Also, I did not have any

previous knowledge of my respondents other than the fact that they participated in democracy activism and that they came recommended by the interviewees I had interviewed prior to them. Furthermore, I also lacked the opportunity to talk with my interviewees for a longer time or be able to follow up on the interviews with them, due to the extent of the thesis, which could have clarified their responses further. It is possible that if I had been able to conduct more interviews and have them go even further into explaining their conceptions of democracy they could perhaps lead to other, different conclusions. However, I find it unlikely that this would have a grand impact on the general conclusions found in this study.

5. Results and Analysis

In this chapter, the results of the study will be presented and analysed. The analysis begins with an examination of whether the material collected from the interviews converge with the four conceptions of democracy: liberal democracy, liberal deliberative democracy,

participatory democracy and lastly participatory deliberative democracy. A discussion and emphasis on the main findings of the study ends the section. Furthermore, to uphold the anonymity of the respondents, they will all be dubbed ​she​, no matter their actual gender.

5.1 Liberal democracy

When asked about what democracy meant to them, most of the respondents spoke about the importance of elections, universal suffrage and representation in the political system even if they went about it in different terms. For example, interviewee B mentioned how it is

“important to note that many of us [activists] look at Taiwan as the ideal example. We look at their elections and become invested in it just because that’s what we really want.” For

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interviewee B, electoral freedom and universal suffrage was at the core of how she perceived democracy, stating that:

“It is hard to think that the type of electoral, and even liberal, democracy that I desire can become real in Hong Kong. But the goal is to have some political reform rather than none.”

Interviewee F also mentioned the concept of liberal democracy directly when asked about her view of democracy. In her interview, she concluded that she considers liberal democracy as the only probable definition of democracy, stating that it has two core components. The first component is majority rule and the second is that there should be “checks and balances on the majority”. She then went on saying that Hong Kong has the second component in the

judiciary, but that the political system in Hong Kong “lacks a guarantee of allowing for majority rule”, meaning that democracy is not really implemented in Hong Kong. Comparing these answers to the operationalization of liberal democracy, it is evident that the activists in the study regard democracy as a polity which includes just elections based on universal suffrage, representation and majority rule, all of which make out points in the

operationalization of liberal democracy as a concept.

In comparison, interviewee C spoke about what she thought democracy in Hong Kong should constitute of. First, a democratic legislation and political system with a Chief Executive should be implemented and thereafter a system which protects human rights and the rule of law, which seemed close to the answer of interviewee F. The design and practice of the constitution in this approach was thus deemed important. Similar to interviewee C’s perception of the need to have a political system that protects human rights, when interviewee E was asked about what democracy meant to her, she spoke mainly about civil liberties. Her definition of democracy was to possess all types of freedoms and to be able to do as she wants, which could be founded on her background in the arts. The maintenance of civil liberties through democratic measures in the constitution was thus emphasized once again by the respondents.

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Accordingly, the interviewees brought up statements that together overlapped with the operationalization of liberal democracy, including the point of competition in the electoral process. Interviewee D illustrated how competition in the political system is needed after her speaking about how democracy consists of several aspects, with the first being to let the population be able to elect who they want to lead the political system, both the Chief Executive and the legislative officials. Further, she stated that there also should exist a freedom for people to be able to be elected by others, as the government now holds the authority to disqualify candidates that are deemed unsuitable to run in the political elections in Hong Kong. To exemplify, she brought up the

example of how Joshua Wong Chi-fung, a distinctive pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong who was one of the leaders of the Umbrella Movement 2014, whose candidacy for the district elections in November 2019 was disqualified by the Hong Kong government (South China Morning Post (b) 2019). That the Hong Kong government utilizes this power over the candidate lists in elections has already caused a great deal of damage to the “one country, two systems” principle, according to interviewee D. This statement not only talks about the importance of elections, but also touches on the importance for free competition in the political system within a democracy which also makes out a core aspect of the concept of liberal democracy.

Therefore,​ the interviews show that respondents’ predominant perception of democracy is closest to the conception of liberal democracy​. However, even if all of the

interviewees mentioned parts of democracy that seemed to converge fully with liberal democracy, some of the interviewees elaborated and explained how they sought more than the baseline of electing a representative government.

5.2 Liberal deliberative democracy

In terms of liberal deliberative democracy, it is important to remember that it is a concept that is building upon the concept of liberal democracy. Since the points making out the

operationalization for liberal deliberative democracy are following the principle of delegation and deliberation, rather than delegation and majority vote, the respondents would need to stress communication in the political system. To exemplify, interviewee A stated that:

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“To me, I want the government to start with public consultation to listen to the people and try to take step backs. But I don’t think many people share my thoughts. I think a majority of people want to get direct votes.”

This statement can be perceived as a way for interviewee A to indicate that their own

perception of democracy consists more of a liberal deliberative approach. Through indicating how she wants public consultation to occur, interviewee A could be said to stress an

importance of communication in democratic processes, which converges with the

operationalization of the liberal deliberative democracy conception. When expanding upon her idea, interviewee A spoke about how citizens’ opinion should have a place in the legislative process. From this statement, it seemed her conception of democracy stood out from the general idea of what constitutes democracy for the participants in the movement.

However, even if this way of emphasizing the importance of public consultation in dealing with political issues stands out among the respondents’ answers, interviewee A did not cover all of the points in the operationalization of liberal deliberative democracy. Therefore, to assume her statement completely liberal deliberative becomes arbitrary. Nevertheless, interviewee A wants more than what the concept of liberal democracy entails and through claiming this need for citizens’ opinion to have a part in the decision-making process leads us to believe liberal deliberative democracy as a concept converges the most with her own understanding of democracy.

5.3 Participatory democracy

Furthermore, participatory democracy was also touched upon as according to interviewee C, democracy makes out the so called “modern society”. This “modern society” should have a level of direct democracy from time to time, where decisions are decided by referendums by the citizens as interviewee C put it. Interviewee C pointed out that there needs to be a

representative government for genuine elections, but that it should be combined with the

“intellectual human standard”, as she called it, being a part of the political decision making process. When interpreting this, it seems that interviewee C is speaking about participatory democracy as a concept of democracy. Even if majority vote and representation in the government is an important aspect of democracy, the most important part seems to be to incorporate the public through referendums and direct elections for interviewee C. The use of

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direct elections can be understood as an arena that ensures citizens’ participation in politics, which converges with the operationalization of participatory democracy as a concept.

Nevertheless, even if interviewee C clearly states that there is more to democracy than the electoral and civil liberty aspects through mentioning the use of referendums, it is difficult to ascertain that her elaboration and mentioning of “intellectual human standard” really

indicates an approach of participatory democracy. However, as the statement goes beyond the points that make out liberal democracy and clearly claims that participation of the public should be an integral part in a democracy, interviewee C’s perception of democracy can be decided to converge with the concept of participatory democracy.

5.4 Participatory deliberative democracy

Finally, none of the respondents mentioned aspects that could be interpreted as fully

converging with the operationalization of participatory deliberative democracy. Even if both deliberative and participatory outlets of democracy were mentioned by interviewee A and C respectively, their statements did not encompass the points of operationalization for

participatory deliberative democracy as a concept.

5.5 Discussion

The findings when analysing the material indicate that liberal democracy is the most

prominent concept that can describe how the activists in the Hong Kong protests 2019 – 2020 regard democracy. Important to note is however the fact that not any of the respondents stated all of the points in the operationalization of the concept as shown in Table 2. Instead, a

combination of their answers covered the operationalization in full. This could be since the respondents were not presented with a description of each of the concepts studied during the interviews. The interview guide was instead constructed in a way to allow for the respondents to fully articulate their own responses and for the interviews to be more dynamic and lively.

However, had they been presented with each of the concepts and their respective

operationalization, their answers might have varied, although that would most likely trifle with the authenticity of their answers, as the respondents now answered with their own words and thoughts on what democracy meant to them.

References

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