Securitizing COVID-19 in an Environment of Low Political Trust: The Case of Hong Kong

Dionysios Stivas, Alistair Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Securitization was a common practice of governments during the first phases of the COVID-19 outbreak. To successfully securitize a pandemic, a government has to convince its citizens of the magnitude of the threat. Trusted governments should be able to do this more effectively than untrusted ones. Hong Kong, our case study, is unique because the government managed to control the pandemic in a context of extremely low political trust. This paper examines the extent to which trust in the government and smart technologies influenced the securitization and management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong. The results of this study suggest that under certain circumstances governments can successfully manage a health emergency even when they do not enjoy much political trust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-142
Number of pages27
JournalAsian Survey
Issue number1
Early online date7 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • COVID-19
  • Hong Kong
  • pandemic
  • political trust
  • securitization
  • smart city


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