The student-led movements of 2014 and public opinion: A comparison of Taiwan and Hong Kong

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This article, which is based on a comparative survey conducted in late 2014, explores public opinion in Taiwan and Hong Kong on the Sunflower and Umbrella movements. We find that public support for the local movement in each place was almost equally divided. As for the other movement, the supporters outnumbered opponents. The basic patterns of the relationship between socio-demographic attributes, political attitudes, as well as the evaluation of the “China impact”, and public support for the two movements were consistent in both societies. Those most likely to support the Sunflower and Umbrella movements were: the young; Minnanese, Hakka, or Hong Kong-born people; those who support the “Pan-Green” or “Pan-democracy” camps; those who agreed that democracy is the best political system; those who had a negative view of the “China impact”, especially its harmful influence on local democracy. Notwithstanding these similarities, in Taiwan, support for the Sunflower Movement was mainly divided by ethnic group and for the Umbrella Movement by gender; while in Hong Kong, support for both movements was largely divided by age, and the perceived “China impact” on local economic growth had no independent effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-80
Number of pages20
JournalAsian Journal of Comparative Politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • public opinion
  • student-led movement
  • “China impact”


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