Purpose: Political parties in Hong Kong are eager to recruit university students and internship programs are a major recruitment channel for them. However, studies on the influences of political internship programs on university students are few and have mainly been conducted in Western democracies. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore the roles of political party internship programs in encouraging university and community college students to join political parties in Hong Kong, a semi-democratic autonomous region of China. Design/methodology/approach: This study is based on the insights gained from semi-structured interviews with a small sample of former party interns. Findings: This paper found that party internship programs can play three major roles in encouraging students at higher education institutions to join a political party. They are: exposing students to the recruitment efforts of the party, helping students who have no political aspirations to generate a desire to join, and providing an opportunity for those already considering joining to ascertain if the party is really suitable for them. Originality/value: This paper shows that political internships in semi-democratic regimes like Hong Kong can play similar roles as those in Western democracies to stimulate some university students to pursue a career in politics and help those already considering a political career to ascertain their goals. This paper also shows that these stimulating and confirming effects could also apply to the application for party membership. Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited.
CitationNg, H.-Y. (2017). The roles of internships in encouraging university students to join political parties: The case of Hong Kong. Asian Education and Development Studies, 6(1), 83-94.
- Hong Kong
- Party member
- Political party
- University student