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Challenging Beijing’s Mandate of Heaven: Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement

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Challenging Beijing’s Mandate of Heaven: Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement
Challenging Beijing’s Mandate of Heaven: Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement
By Ming-Sho Ho
Temple University Press, 2019 288 pp. Purchase

In 2014, large protest movements erupted in two of China’s claimed territories: the Sunflower Movement in Taiwan, which opposed trade liberalization with the mainland, and the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, which denounced the special administrative region’s rigged electoral system. Ho’s penetrating, theoretically informed study shows how these movements built on networks created in previous protest episodes and analyzes how the protesters interacted with the authorities. The Sunflower Movement gave impetus to the election of the opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan’s 2016 presidential election. But the Umbrella Movement, even though it lasted 79 days, was ultimately crushed, leaving the territory’s pro-democracy parties weakened. Together, the protests showed how pressure from Beijing can strengthen local identities, a dynamic also evident in Tibet and Xinjiang. Ho suggests that similar resistance may emerge elsewhere if China pushes too hard.

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