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The 2016 Legislative Council (LegCo) election marked a watershed in the political development of Hong Kong. The vote reflected the emergence of increasing divisions within the democratic and pro-Beijing (or pro-establishment) camps, the institutionalization of post-Umbrella Movement activism, and especially the rise of localism. At its heart, Localism signifies a commitment to protecting the interests and identity of Hong Kong. Beijing’s heavy-handed intervention after the LegCo elections—disqualifying several localist lawmakers who refused to take the oath of office as written—is evidence of how much Beijing fears seeing the discourse on Hong Kong national- and self-determination become institutionalized. The decision significantly altered Beijing-Hong Kong relations by damaging the territory’s autonomy, and it has potential implications for Hong Kong’s ability to preserve its citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms.


Issue Date: 
January 2017
Volume: 
28
Issue: 
1
Page Numbers: 
157-171

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