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Deradicalization in response to social experiences in youth in Hong Kong

Chau-kiu Cheung (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 16 August 2022

Issue publication date: 6 June 2023




The study aims to examine the effectiveness of socially available measures such as concessive messaging, deradicalizing messaging, punishment, and reward in deradicalization, which remains theoretically debatable and empirically unclear and concern social policymakers.


This study surveyed 4,385 Chinese youths in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, to clarify the effectiveness.


Results show that receiving concessive messages about radicalism raised radicalism in 2020. Meanwhile, receiving deradicalization messages and rewards reduced radicalism. Receiving punishments for radicalism reduced radicalism when radicalism in 2019 had been high.


These results support social learning theory and imply its usefulness for deradicalization. That is, deradicalization can rely on messaging countering as opposed to conceding to radicalism and reinforcement for deradicalization and against radicalism.



The paper evolves from a research grant from the Public Policy Research Funding Scheme of Hong Kong (SR2020.A1.028).

Declaration of conflicting interests: The author declares no potential conflicts of interest concerning the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.

Ethical statement: The paper evolves from a research project approved by an institutional ethical review committee.

Data availability statement: Data used in this paper are available upon request.


Cheung, C.-k. (2023), "Deradicalization in response to social experiences in youth in Hong Kong", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 43 No. 7/8, pp. 643-660.



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