Protests in Macao Under Chinese Sovereignty: Against the State or for the State?

Ying ho Kwong, Mathew Y.H. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The existing literature on contentious politics has long centred on “state-challenging protests,” referring to resistance that denies state legitimacy. However, the implications of “state-engaging protests,” referring to protests that seek state assistance in what are essentially private disputes rather than challenging state legitimacy, have yet to be thoroughly explored. By analysing 2,364 protests in Macao, this study compares the trends and characteristics of protests from 2000 to 2021. The results indicate that state-challenging protests that targeted the Macao government exceeded state-engaging ones but state-engaging protests that targeted the mainland Chinese authorities exceeded state-challenging ones. The conclusion strongly supports the thesis that identity affiliation affects the type of protests: citizens with a strong local Macao identity tend to be involved more in state-engaging protests, seeking state assistance. However, citizens with a strong Chinese national identity tend to engage more in state-challenging protests to criticise the local government. These findings provide a useful comparative perspective on the causes of state-challenging and state-engaging protests.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • China
  • identity
  • Macao
  • state-challenging protests
  • state-engaging protests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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