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Title: Evolution of Our Times: Hong Kong and Taiwan’s Developing Democratic Identities
Authors: Chong, Ja Ian 
Pan, Hsin-Hsin
Issue Date: 20-Jul-2022
Publisher: University of British Columbia
Citation: Chong, Ja Ian, Pan, Hsin-Hsin (2022-07-20). Evolution of Our Times: Hong Kong and Taiwan’s Developing Democratic Identities. PACIFIC AFFAIRS 95 (3). ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Two trends have become increasingly apparent from public opinion polls in Taiwan and Hong Kong over the past decade. One is a growing identification with and confidence in being exclusively Taiwanese or Hong Konger. The other is increasing public support for democracy. Existing research investigates the association between local identity and democracy, but does not address the meanings people in Taiwan and Hong Kong ascribe to their identities. This limits a fuller understanding of the relationships and driving forces between and behind these trends. One interpretation is that demands for greater democracy mask growing nativism, even xenophobia. An alternative one is that heightened local identification reflects aspirations for greater political participation and restraint on executive authority in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Using discourse analysis collected through the Making Identities Count in Asia project, alongside polling data, we submit that elite and mass discourse reveal an integration of democratic expectations with local identity and its broadening appeal in Taiwan and Hong Kong. People in these two societies take principles associated with democracy to be closely tied to their sense of identification and locality. Such ideas do not eschew the value of tradition rooted in local experiences and can outweigh economic growth. However, Hong Kongers and Taiwanese have come to identify substantively more with democracy than the exceptionalism implied in “localism,” “Asian values,” or some form of nativism. PRC attempts to appeal to local concerns in Taiwan and Hong Kong need to grapple with either meaningful respect for democratic aspirations or effectively repressing them. PRC insistence on the erasure of such values will likely result in continued tensions with Taiwan and Hong Kong, and include mass resistance and the need for force, even violence.
ISSN: 0030851X
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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