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  • Social Conflicts in Hong Kong

Social Conflicts in Hong Kong


Lau Siu-kai, Wan Po-san

English , 1997/01 HKIAPS, Occasional Paper Series Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, CUHK

Tags: Hong Kong Studies

215 x 140 mm , 114pp ISBN / ISSN : 978-962-441-062-4

  • US$4.50

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Social Conflicts in Hong Kong: 1987-1995 This study attempts to inventory the everyday social conflicts occurring between 1 January 1987 and 31 December 1995. A total of 3,661 social conflict events was recorded. Most of the recorded social conflicts were of short duration, initiated by named groups, engaged neither allies nor antagonist parties, and limited in the number of participants. The majority of conflict actions was decorous and bounded by mutually-agreed-upon principles. Occurrence of violence was extremely rare, and governmental repression rather self-controlled. Most social conflicts involved the state, either as an object of claims, a party to conflict, or a conflict arbitrator. Citizenship became an accepted basis for making claims on the government. Since 1989 onwards, the Chinese government, which had "participated" in social conflicts mainly as the absent object of people's grievances and demands, had risen from an insignificant to a dominant position. The past decade saw an expanding zone of conflicts and the social base of collective contention became broader and more heterogeneous. Production workers, students, civil servants and people with union or political party affiliation tended to be involved more often in collective action. While social conflicts joined predominantly by other social categories generally underwent a decline in recent years, those engaged mainly by political group members had experienced a steady increase since 1990. Among the five most frequent conflict issues, contentions of a labour, housing and transport nature were consensual conflicts with basically a sectorial scope. Their goals and demands were mostly instrumental and tangible. These conflicts saw a fluctuating trend but experienced no definite long-term decline in later years. Contentions of a civil rights and political nature, on the contrary, were dissensual conflicts with an outside-Hong Kong or a territory-wide scope. Both types of conflicts were fundamentally situational, defensive and reform-oriented, but not revolutionary. Yet, they all witnessed a significant decline in the early 1990s.

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