Prostrating Walk in the Campaign against Sino-Hong Kong Express Railway: Collective Identity of Native Social Movement

Steve Kwok-Leung Chan


Occupation, blockage and storming are not rare in social movements a decade after China resuming sovereignty in Hong Kong. The organizers and participants usually involve locally born young people. Some of them are secondary school students in their teens. They are known as the fourth generation or post-1980s born Hongkongers. The paper examines the cultural context of social movements involving these youth activists. It mainly studied the campaign against the Sino-Hong Kong Express Railway development project. The project called for the demolition of the Tsoi Yuen Village, a small rural village located on its designed route. Since then, the role of younger generation in social movements has been generally recognized. Social media are widely employed in all stages of the movements with citizen journalists actively involved. The impressive ‘prostrating walk’ imitating Tibetan pilgrims becomes the symbol of these youth activists. It keeps appearing in other campaigns including Occupy Central in Hong Kong in 2014. This paper argues that the rise of nativism, advancement in ICT technology and shifting towards new social movements contribute to the dominant role of youth in recent social movements of Hong Kong. Collective identity of Hongkonger in response to the top-down assimilation by China, strengthens the movement.


Prostrating Walk; New Social Movement; Nativism; Youth Activism; Hong Kong; Express Railway

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