• 288 pages
  • 6 x 9
  • 5 tables, 6 figures, 2 maps
  • Price: $39.95
  • EAN: 9781439917077
  • Publication: Jan 2019
  • Price: $104.50
  • EAN: 9781439917060
  • Publication: Jan 2019
  • Price: $39.95
  • EAN: 9781439917084
  • Publication: Jan 2019

Challenging Beijing's Mandate of Heaven

Taiwan's Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

Ming-sho Ho
  • Named one of the "Best Books" of 2019 by Foreign Affairs
  • Taiwan's Academica Sinica Book Award, 2019

In 2014, the Sunflower Movement in Taiwan grabbed international attention as citizen protesters demanded the Taiwan government withdraw its free-trade agreement with China. In that same year, in Hong Kong, the Umbrella Movement sustained 79 days of demonstrations, protests that demanded genuine universal suffrage in electing Hong Kong’s chief executive. It too, became an international incident before it collapsed. Both of these student-led movements featured large-scale and intense participation and had deep and far-reaching consequences. But how did two massive and disruptive protests take place in culturally conservative societies? And how did the two “occupy”-style protests against Chinese influences on local politics arrive at such strikingly divergent results?

Challenging Beijing’s Mandate of Heaven aims to make sense of the origins, processes, and outcomes of these eventful protests in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Ming-sho Ho compares the dynamics of the two movements, from the existing networks of activists that preceded protest, to the perceived threats that ignited the movements, to the government strategies with which they contended, and to the nature of their coordination. Moreover, he contextualizes these protests in a period of global prominence for student, occupy, and anti-globalization protests and situates them within social movement studies.


Challenging Beijing’s Mandate of Heaven is an excellent account of two eventful protests that changed the trajectories of political development in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The Sunflower Movement and the Umbrella Movement dramatically boosted young people’s political aspirations and intensified their resistance to China’s rising sharp power. Ho’s book disentangles the puzzle of why direct actions such as the occupation of strategic spaces might arise in relatively conservative societies. It also movingly pinpoints the challenges these protests present to their respective societies, including a remapping of the political landscape and the deterioration of Chinese identity among the young.”
Kin-man Chan, Associate Professor of Sociology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and co-organizer of the Umbrella Movement

"(A) penetrating, theoretically informed study." — Foreign Affairs

"Ho’s book deserves to become part of the canons of both Taiwan and Hong Kong studies, and should be read widely by scholars focusing on the Chinese mainland as well. No scholar can understand contemporary cross-strait relations or Hong Kong–mainland dynamics without first studying these two 2014 events, and Ho’s book serves as a critical primer on Taiwanese and Hong Kongese social movements."
— Journal of Asian Studies

"(A)n important and timely monograph.... Ho is the foremost expert on social movements in Taiwan.... He impresses with his in-depth knowledge.... Challenging Beijing’s Mandate of Heaven should be a required reading for students and scholars of social movements, democratization, Taiwan and Hong Kong politics, and anyone interested in understanding what happened in Hong Kong in 2019."
— China Quarterly

"Challenging Beijing’s Mandate of Heaven is indispensable reading. This empirically rigorous and theoretically innovative work will also appeal to students of contentious politics in general....With particularly close observations and 138 highly informative in-depth interviews, the book uncovers some interesting and delicate cultural aspects of the mobilization, such as the creative playfulness of the protests. More important, the book seeks to improve on the mainstream theories of contentious politics with conceptual innovations.... (T)his book should be read by anyone interested in social movements, democratization, and East Asian politics."
—American Journal of Sociology

"This is a detailed portrayal of two major social movements that erupted unexpectedly, challenging expectations of mainstream social movement theory about the lack of large-scale protests in predominantly conservative Asian countries.... Ho makes a series of important substantive points in the course of this book.... For those interested in Asia’s complicated patterns of authoritarian and democratic politics, for students of Chinese history, and for those aiming to analyze new forms of collective action, Ho Ming-sho’s book is a must read."
Social Movement Studies

About the Author(s)

Ming-sho Ho is a Professor of Sociology at National Taiwan University. He is the author of Working Class Formation in Taiwan: Fractured Solidarity in State-Owned Enterprises, 1945–2012.