Scholars have noted that the Chinese government has been grooming a range of grass-roots social organizations in Hong Kong since the handover. Hometown associations (HTAs), in particular, are seen as an important cultural nexus capable of integrating patron–client relationships based on material benefits with social relationships rooted in common culture and identity. Few studies, however, have documented the mobilizing power of HTAs quantitatively. This article examines the mobilizing power of HTAs in the 2021 Legislative Council elections, where the state attempted to promote voter participation to protect the legitimacy of the “reformed” electoral system. Analysis at the level of District Council constituencies shows that the presence of HTAs was indeed related to higher voter turnout. I also test whether the impact of HTAs was conditioned by population characteristics. General implications of the findings are discussed.
Hometown Associations as Mobilizing Agents: Voter Turnout in Hong Kong’s “Reformed” Legislative Council Elections
Francis L. F. Lee is Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong. His recent publications on political communication and social movements include Media and Protest Logics in the Digital Era (Oxford University Press, 2018) and Memories of Tiananmen: Politics and Processes of Collective Remembering in Hong Kong (Amsterdam University Press, 2021).
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Francis L. F. Lee; Hometown Associations as Mobilizing Agents: Voter Turnout in Hong Kong’s “Reformed” Legislative Council Elections. Asian Survey 2022; doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/as.2022.1714374
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