Add oil: Why China responded with violence the the worst political crisis in Hong Kong
No Thumbnail Available
“Add oil”. Two Cantonese words of encouragement that, for nearly half a year, inspired millions of Hongkongers to fight for their rights and push for a more democratic Hong Kong. The protests that were ignited in the Summer of 2019 by a now extinct extradition bill morphed into a months-long full on demonstration against the government and the status quo. The protests caught the attention of the international community not only because they were the largest in Hong Kong’s history but also due to the use of violence by the police. Based on a qualitative content analysis of news stories, that spanned for over one year, covering the protests, this study relies on realist and constructivist theories to explain why China chose to ignore both domestic and international pressure and instead responded with violence against the protesters in Hong Kong. This thesis argues that this type of behavior can be explained because of three reasons: Xi Jinping feared to be losing power, China was responding to a shift in the balance of power and, ultimately, there was not sufficient domestic pressure for China to enact a policy change in the human rights domain. The findings of this study can be employed in future dealings with China and to effectively pressure China’s government to not respond with violence to domestic protesters and enact positive policy changes in the human rights field.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen