Helping or Hindering Democracy? Media Portraits of Protests in Hong Kong.


Public protests in Hong Kong date back to British colonial rule and have evolved from the sporadic, although bloody riots of the 1960s into the more recent protests of 2014 and 2019 with up to two million people marching. Hong Kong’s unique place in colonial history, and its democratic aspirations offer an extraordinary opportunity to learn and discuss whether, over time, representations of protests in both Hong Kong and non-Hong Kong based, English language newspapers have become more polarized, and whether eventual changes in the reporting of the protests may have influenced Hong Kong citizens’ legitimization of, and support for the protests, and/or any action by the authorities vis a vis protests. The short course will:

  • Examine coverage of five episodes of protests: the 2003 Article 23 Subversion Legislation; the 2007 Save the Star Ferry Pier Campaign; the 2012 Anti-moral Education Protest; 2014 Occupy Central; and the 2019 Anti-extradition Law Protests in the South China Morning Post and China Daily (Hong Kong edition), The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Times, and The Guardian.
  • Use a news agenda setting approach, content and discourse analysis techniques to learn about differences in linguistic representations across newspapers; whether these differences may be reflective of different political positions which, in turn may result in a positive or negative bias towards how protests are understood, justified, and tolerated by citizens and authorities.
  • Discuss the historical context and the response to the various protest events by the HK government and the PRC.

Please visit the Office of the Registrar for more information about this course.