Understanding youth activism and radicalism: Chinese values and socialization

Mathew Y.H. Wong, Paul Vinod Khiatani, Wing Hong Chui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In the past decade, there has been an evident surge in political activism in Hong Kong, especially among the youth. This paper seeks to explain this development by adopting an emerging framework, the Activism–Radicalism Intention Scale (ARIS), that distinguishes between activism and radicalism and demonstrates how past and current intentions relate to each other. To explain how young people become politically motivated, we borrow from existing literature and test three dominant explanations, namely the liberal education thesis, critical network analysis, and value-systems explanation. Using results from a survey conducted with tertiary students in Hong Kong, we find the critical network to be an important explanation of participation. Interestingly, the Chinese values of trustworthiness and social harmony also play a role in shaping youth activism and radicalism, but in less predictable ways. This study contributes to the literature by providing an innovative way to systematically analyze youth activism and assess the influence of Chinese values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-267
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Activism
  • Chinese values
  • Hong Kong
  • Political participation
  • Radicalism
  • Tertiary students
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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