1. Hong Kong's multiple constructions of SARS

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This chapter identifies five significant interpretive frames which operated in Hong Kong and southern China as the SARS crisis developed in spring 2003. These five frames treated SARS, respectively, as (a) a state secret of the Chinese provincial officials, (b) a scientific mystery to be solved by the scientific community, (c) a medical epidemic that legitimized the use of emergency powers and necessitated the taking of large scale collective actions, (d) a general warning to the community concerning the poor state of public hygiene and, finally, as (e) a government failure that served as a catalyst for social unrest and change. As each frame is described some of the behavioral and actional consequences of using the frame are also indicated.


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