We shall not flag or fail, we shall go on to the end": Hashtag activism in Hong Kong protests

Aditi Bhatia, Andrew S. Ross

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Focusing on the anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong, this article presents an analysis of Twitter posts adopting the hashtags #antiELAB, #NoChinaExtradition and #HongKongProtests. The analysis explores the public narrative among the collective identity of Hongkongers opposing the extradition bill as events unfolded during mid-2019 in Hong Kong. To do so, we adopt Bhatia's (2015) multi-perspective framework for the Discourse of Illusion, which takes a three-prong approach to the study of argument construction and establishing legitimacy. Specifically, through the interrelated components of (1) historicity, (2) linguistic and semiotic action, and (3) social impact, the dimensions of the hashtag narrative that emerged on Twitter were explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-142
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Language and Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2022


  • Discourse of illusion
  • Hashtag activism
  • Hong Kong protests
  • Social media discourse
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language

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