Pour (Tear) Gas on Fire? Violent Confrontations and Anti-Government Backlash

Chau, Tak-Huen, and Kin-Man Wan. "Pour (tear) gas on fire? Violent confrontations and anti-government backlash." Political Science Research and Methods

45 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2020 Last revised: 18 Oct 2022

See all articles by Tak-Huen Chau

Tak-Huen Chau

UC Berkeley, Department of Political Science

Kin-Man Wan

City University of Hong Kong, Department of Public and International Affairs

Date Written: March 23, 2020

Abstract

How do voters in a developed economy react to political violence at the ballot box? Most of the current literature suggests that a social movement turning violent dampens its support. To this end, we examine the effect of violent clashes and indiscriminate state repression on Hong Kong's 2019 municipal election. Using original geocoded data, we proxy violence and repression by the frequency of police shooting tear gas rounds at protesters. Despite the movement turning in part violent, the presence of indiscriminate state repression reduces regime support. We offer evidence that repression de-mobilized pro-regime voters. We discuss possible explanations behind our findings and how the specificity of political violence may matter in shaping public support in protest movements.

Keywords: conflict, Hong Kong, policing, political resistance, political violence

Suggested Citation

Chau, Tak Huen and Wan, Kin-Man, Pour (Tear) Gas on Fire? Violent Confrontations and Anti-Government Backlash (March 23, 2020). Chau, Tak-Huen, and Kin-Man Wan. "Pour (tear) gas on fire? Violent confrontations and anti-government backlash." Political Science Research and Methods, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3557130 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3557130

Tak Huen Chau (Contact Author)

UC Berkeley, Department of Political Science ( email )

United States

Kin-Man Wan

City University of Hong Kong, Department of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Hong Kong

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