Six in 10 Hongkongers say society worse off after handover: poll

June 08, 2017 13:47
According to the survey, nearly one in five respondents is considering migrating to another country. Photo: GovHK

More than half of Hong Kong people think society has become worse after returning to China 20 years ago.

According to a survey conducted last month by the Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 62.9 percent of the 1,000 respondents said society as a whole has become worse over the past two decades, compared with 15.4 percent who believed it has become better, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

As Hong Kong prepares to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its return to China on July 1, the survey found that nearly one in five respondents is considering migrating to another country, with 3 percent of the respondents saying they are seriously planning to do so.

Asked how satisfied they are with the implementation of “one country, two systems” policy in the city, the average score is 5.17 on a scale of 0 to 10, up 0.6 point from a similar survey conducted last year, and is above 5 for the first time since 2014.

The survey said 38.7 percent were "satisfied" while 30.2 percent were "not satisfied".

Asked how much they trust the Hong Kong government and Beijing, the respondents gave an average score of 4.86 and 4.91, respectively, both the highest since 2014.

Francis Lee, a professor at CUHK’s School of Journalism and Communication, said the rise in people's trust is not surprising as there have been no major disputes in the society recently, and this has helped in bringing an atmosphere of peace in the city.

More than one in three respondents said they are pessimistic about Hong Kong’s future development, while 29.1 percent said they are optimistic.

One finding that stands out in the survey is that the percentage of Hongkongers who support the city’s independence has dropped significantly.

Asked what they think Hong Kong should do after 2047, the year the “one country, two systems” promised by Beijing expires, 71.2 percent of the respondents said they hope the principle will still hold, while 11.4 percent said they will join the call for independence by that time, a drop of 6 points from last year, Ming Pao Daily said.

Only 15 percent of respondents aged between 15 and 24 said they support independence, down from 39 percent last year, while the percentage of those against the idea in the group jumped 17 percentage points.

Lee said the sharp drop in the support rate for independence may be attributed to the intense discussions on the issue in society over the past year, prompting more young people to carefully consider the matter, and the fact that there is no charismatic character leading the independence movement.

-- Contact us at [email protected]