Beijing’s “one country, two systems” principle is rated low by Hong Kong people after 20 years of implementation, according to a public opinion poll commissioned by political group Path of Democracy.
The poll, which was conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies between May 23 and June 3, was based on phone interviews with 1,002 citizens. It asked them to rate 10 items after the handover, including freedom of speech, judicial independence, Beijing’s interference in local affairs and confidence in full implementation of the principle.
The average score was 4.84 on a scale of 0 to 10, a result that the group called “a cause for concern” for policymakers.
Among the 10 items, freedom of speech received the highest score at 6.36, followed by judicial independence (5.72) and legislature independence (5.53).
The score for confidence in “resolving differences between Hong Kong and the mainland through dialogues and negotiation” was the lowest at only 4.04, and that for “internal affairs of Hong Kong have not been interfered with by mainland government” was the second lowest at 4.40, the poll showed.
Ronny Tong, convenor of the group and a former Civic Party lawmaker, said Hong Kong and Beijing have never been able to solve the problems related to the city’s political reforms through negotiations, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
Combining scores compiled by international institutions on Hong Kong’s economic freedom, personal freedom and degree of democracy, the group came up with its “one country, two systems” index that scores 6.52.
In addition, the poll also found that 8.9 percent of the respondents have plans to emigrate in the next five years due to a lack of confidence in the principle.
Asked if the government needs to initiate a consultative process for Article 23 legislation, which prohibits any act of treason, sedition, secession and subversion against the Chinese government, the respondents differed in their views. While 16.1 percent strongly objected to the move, another 15.5 percent said it is “very necessary”.
In terms of self-identification, more than half of the respondents said they see themselves as both Hongkonger and Chinese.
Tong expected the group to conduct similar polls every six months to keep the public updated on knowing how Hong Kong society views the “one country, two systems” principle.
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