Fewer Hong Kong people consider themselves Chinese and a growing number call themselves Hongkonger, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday, citing a university survey.
The poll by the Public Opinion Program (POP) of the University of Hong Kong interviewed 1,000 people from Dec. 10 to 16.
More than four in 10 refer to themselves as Hongkonger, up slightly from six months earlier. One in five consider themselves China Hongkonger.
But fewer than two in 10 identify themselves as Chinese, down from the previous survey, while a smaller proportion (15 percent) call themselves Hong Kong Chinese.
The respondents’ connection to the Hongkonger identity climbed to 79.5 points, up 1.3 points from six months ago.
Their sense of being Asian, a member of the Chinese race, a world citizen, or a Chinese national fell to 69.8, 65.9, 63.7, 62 and 54.4, respectively.
It was the first time the gap between being a Chinese national and being a Hongkonger had hit 25 points, according to the survey.
POP director Robert Chung said Hong Kong people’s sense of being Chinese, especially in the 18-29 age group, is the lowest since 1997 when Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty and the annual survey began.
Political commentator Johnny Lau said the survey results reflect Hong Kong people’s disaffection with Beijing’s policies, especially its refusal to heed their democratic aspirations.
Hong Kong people are likely to distance themselves from the Chinese national identity and hold firm to their being Hongkonger over Beijing’s hard line on “one country, two systems”, Lau said.
Chen Zuo’er, former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, recently urged Hong Kong to pass a national security law to prevent a repeat of the recent pro-democracy protests.
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