Hong Kong under COVID-19: Active self-mobilization, freedom and responsibilities, and learnings

King Man Eric CHONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Hong Kong society became the site of active self-mobilization when there was a virus outbreak in early 2020. Hong Kong residents quickly adopted voluntary protective measures such as minimizing social contacts and buying personal protective equipment. After the presence of a new Coronavirus was confirmed, medical and health care workers went on strike in early February, clamouring for the Hong Kong SAR government to close border crossings with China. They feared the medical and health care system would not be able to bear the rising numbers of infection. The government responded with a pronouncement that the strike was endangering lives, and that a complete closure of border checkpoints was unfeasible. Generally, Hong Kong residents exercised self-protection and self-restraint, voluntarily choosing to stay home except to go to work or buy daily necessities. As a result, Hong Kong did not adopt a citywide lockdown. More people began to leave their homes when infection rates slowed, but this led to further waves of infection. The Hong Kong experience raises a number of questions about society that are relevant to education and citizenship. What are individuals’ responsibilities during a pandemic? Does a state of pandemic make it acceptable to limit freedom of movement and freedom of expression, and if so, how can this principle be applied in relation to the right to strike for the purpose of compelling the government to take stronger public health measures? Specific to education, how can young people be taught to follow safety advice amid the temptation to go outdoors for exercise under restrictive measures? There is a need for engaging students in social compassion and dialogues to face a persistent pandemic. Copyright © 2021 Intellect Ltd Article. English language.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-284
JournalCitizenship Teaching & Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2021


Chong, E. K.-M. (2021). Hong Kong under COVID-19: Active self-mobilization, freedom and responsibilities, and learnings. Citizenship Teaching & Learning, 16(2), 273-284. doi: 10.1386/ctl_00063_1


  • COVID-19
  • Hong Kong
  • Active self-mobilization
  • Freedom
  • Implications
  • Responsibilities


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