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Rethinking the political participation of Hong Kong Christians

Ka Shing Ng (School of Global Humanities and Social Sciences, Nagasaki University , Nagasaki, Japan and Department of Sociology, Hokkaido University , Sapporo, Japan)

Social Transformations in Chinese Societies

ISSN: 1871-2673

Article publication date: 2 May 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

Christian-affiliated social groups and leaders have been active and vocal in movements advocating democracy, equality and social justices. Christians are also specular in the “July 1st Protest” in 2003 and “Umbrella Movement” in 2014. Are Christians, in general, more politically active in Hong Kong? This paper aims to examine these questions from a quantitative viewpoint.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examines the effects of religion and other socio-demographic factors on both electoral and non-electoral participation based on data from the World Value Survey 2013 Hong Kong data set.

Findings

Interest in politics and education level are strong predictors of both electoral and non-electoral participation in Hong Kong. Confidence in government is negatively associated with political participation. Religious affiliation is not a predictor of any kinds of political participation. The effects of interest in politics are greater among Protestants and Catholics than people with no religion.

Research limitations/implications

While previous surveys show that Christians have a strong presence in political participation, the results suggest that being a Christian is not statistically related to a higher level of political participation. On the other hand, affiliating to Christian churches may provide necessary resources (e.g. networks, skills and knowledge) only to those members who are already interested in politics and thereby facilitate their political participation.

Originality/value

Based on national sample data, this study debunks the public perception that “Christianity is politically active” and suggests the possible role of churches in mobilizing politically interested members into political activities.

Keywords

Citation

Ng, K.S. (2017), "Rethinking the political participation of Hong Kong Christians", Social Transformations in Chinese Societies, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 37-55. https://doi.org/10.1108/STICS-10-2016-0017

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

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