Date
29 March 2017
People in the younger age groups feel use of violent tactics is justified in some cases in the fight against the establishment, according to a survey. Photo: HKEJ
People in the younger age groups feel use of violent tactics is justified in some cases in the fight against the establishment, according to a survey. Photo: HKEJ

Most young people not averse to violent tactics in protests

Nearly 60 percent of Hong Kong citizens feel protesters used excessive violence during street demonstrations and clashes with the police in the recent past, a survey has shown.

However, younger people do not agree with the overall view, as they are of the opinion that some violence is justified when it comes to taking on the establishment on issues critical to the city, according to the survey.

As many as 59.1 percent of respondents in the age group of 18-29 said they would not exclude the use of violence when fighting the establishment, the Hong Kong Economic Journal cited a Lingnan University survey as showing.

For the survey, which was commissioned by a concern group led by former lawmaker Fred Li Wah-ming, researchers from the Public Governance Programme of Lingnan University interviewed nearly 1,000 Hong Kong citizens between March 29 and April 5.

Around 32.7 percent of the overall respondents felt that police used excessive violence against demonstrators in recent years, while 35 percent believed the use of force was appropriate.

Meanwhile, 60 percent of the respondents said they feel that demonstrators used excessive violence. Only 20 percent said the violence was appropriate.

The survey also asked the respondents about acceptability of the violent tactics used by the police on protesters in the Mong Kok civil unrest two months ago.

On a scale of zero to 10, with 10 standing for high acceptability, the survey respondents gave an acceptability score of 5.51.

However, in the age group of 18 to 29, 59.1 percent of people said they do not rule out using violence in fighting against the government.

Only 40 percent insisted they wouldn’t use violence no matter what. Young respondents tend to think that violent tactics will yield results in terms of forcing the government to backtrack on policies.

But in the age groups of 30 to 50 and above 50, more than 50 percent of the respondents said violent fights will only make the government adopt an iron fist on policy matters.

Li said the survey results are a cause for worry.

He called for dialogues between the government and young people, and also urged Beijing to show greater understanding of Hongkongers’ concerns.

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BT/AC/RC

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