What is it about?

Hong Kong localism asserts that local residents' interests should be prioritized in policymaking. But underlying that claim is the thinking of Hong Kong as a special polity with unique cosmopolitan culture. This localist cultural identity labels Hong Kong as the "global city" from a Western-centric perspective and distances Hong Kong from Mainland China. As a result, Hong Kong localism successfully mobilizes young people with a populist appeal. But this populism hinders Hong Kong localism from producing constructive progress at the institutional level.

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Why is it important?

The localist movement was the precursor of the current political unrest in Hong Kong. This article helps explain why Hong Kong people show such strong antagonism to both the Chinese government and people from Mainland China. It gives credit to the movement's creative use of media to relate politics with mundane life. Meanwhile, critiques are given regarding the limitation of fighting for democracy with populism.


I was a student journalist reporting the Umbrella Movement in 2014. Being a "Mainlander," I have been curious how I ended up being the enemy of Hong Kong people. Witnessing people younger than me fighting for a better life on the street also motivated me to understand the discourse of localist ideology.

Yidong Wang
University of Wisconsin System

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This page is a summary of: Local identity in a global city: Hong Kong localist movement on social media, Critical Studies in Media Communication, August 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/15295036.2019.1652837.
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