A comparative study of Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong students' civic participation, political trust and political efficacy

Yiping WANG

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

Abstract

This study aims to investigate civic participation, political trust and political efficacy between Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong secondary students with a quantitative and comparative methodology. Research questions are (1) what are Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong students’ intentions for future civic participation regarding illegal protest, legal protest, electoral participation, and informal political participation and what differences, if any, are there between the two groups of students? (2) how strong are Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong students’ levels of political trust and political efficacy and what, if any, are the differences between the two groups of students? (3) how do political trust and political efficacy influence Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong students’ intentions for future civic participation?
Studies on political attitudes and civic participation are mainly based in democratic regimes and seldom are conducted in the authoritarian regime such as Mainland China or the hybrid regime such as Hong Kong. The current study has the potential to test the application of Western attitude-behavior framework in the Chinese contexts. A healthy democratic society requires citizens actively and responsively participate in politics. Political trust and political efficacy as political attitudes are important components in influencing citizens’ political engagement. There are four types of civic participation are to be examined including unconventional participation such as illegal protest and conventional participation such as legal protest, electoral participation and informal political participation. This study utilized secondary data analysis with large samples. Hong Kong dataset came from ICCS 2009 with a sample size 2528 and Mainland China dataset were from CCCS 2012 with a sample size 1475. Results suggested that illegal protest was the form of future civic participation that both groups were not likely to take part in. In contrast, both groups endorsed conventional forms of future civic participation positively. Mainland Chinese students showed stronger intentions for conventional forms of future civic participation than their Hong Kong counterparts. Students from both groups endorsed political trust and political efficacy positively; again Mainland Chinese students endorsed these two scales stronger than their Hong Kong counterparts. Political trust was negatively associated with illegal protest but positively associated with legal protest, electoral participation and informal political participation. Political efficacy had a positive influence on all four modes of civic participation. Cluster analysis created profiles based on both students’ political attitudes and the preference of civic participation, which illustrated the heterogeneity of the population. Four clusters emerged among Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong students and were labeled Alienated-Radical Participators, Supportive-Active Participators, Loyal-Minimal Participators and Critical-Active Participators. There were more Alienated-Radical Participators among Hong Kong students and there were more Supportive-Active Participators among Mainland Chinese students. In conclusion, Mainland Chinese students demonstrated a more active citizenship than their Hong Kong counterparts. Explanations has been made from both regime type and civic education policy. Mainland China as an authoritarian regime has a stronger capacity in cultivating regime-supporting citizens than Hong Kong as a hybrid regime. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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political participation
Hong Kong
participation
protest
student
regime
political attitude
China
citizens' society
Group
citizen
political group
secondary analysis
cluster analysis
data analysis
citizenship

Keywords

  • Civic participation
  • Political trust
  • Political efficacy
  • Citizenship education
  • Political culture
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Mphil)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2019.