HKU POP SITE releases a June Fourth survey and a column articleBack

Press Release on June 3, 2003

The Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong today releases via the "HKU POP SITE"( the latest findings of a June Fourth survey, and a bilingual article entitled "June Fourth Angst Unsettled". Written by Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of the Public Opinion Programme, the article mainly described the author's feelings when faced with the latest survey findings. Copyright of the article is open, and the media is welcome to carry it in whole or in part.


POP's normal practice is to release the results of our regular surveys every Tuesday at 2 pm via our POP Site, except during public holidays, each time with a forecast of the items to be released in the forthcoming week. We will review and adjust this operation regularly. According to our schedule, the date and time of our next release will be June 5, 2003, Thursday, at 2 pm, the latest results of people's satisfaction with the freedom of the press in Hong Kong, their appraisal of the credibility of the local news media in general, as well as the latest ratings of the most well-known political groups will be released. Then, on June 10, 2003, Tuesday, at 2pm, we will release the latest ratings of CE Tung Chee-hwa and the Principal Officials under the accountability system.


Between May 15 and 20, 2003, POP conducted a random telephone survey which successfully interviewed 1,067 Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong of age 18 or above, to gauge people's opinion on the June Fourth Incident. Results showed that 46% believed that the Beijing students did the right thing in 1989, 15% said no, 39% did not give a definite answer. The proportion of respondents who supported the Beijing students has increased for 3 consecutive years, and a significant increase of 7 percentage points was recorded when compared to that of last year.


Meanwhile, 13% said the Chinese Government did the right thing, 62% said no, 26% did not give a definite answer. When compared to last year's results, the proportion of respondents who denounced the Chinese Government has significantly risen by 8 percentage points.


On a macro level, compared to 1993, the proportions of those who supported the Beijing students and denounced the Chinese Government have dropped by 13 and 16 percentage points respectively. However, both figures have rebounded recently.


The latest findings also revealed that 47% of the respondents supported a reversion of the official stand on the incident, 24% opposed, while 29% did not give a definite answer. The support level has significantly increased by 8 percentage points from that of last year. When compared to the findings obtained in May 1997 before the handover, there was a net decrease of 3 percentage points in the support level, and an increase of 5 percentage points for those who took the opposite view.


With respect to China's human right condition, 80% of the respondents believed that it had improved since 1989. The figure has risen for 3 consecutive times since 2000, with an accumulated increase of 17 percentage points. Compared to last year, it has increased significantly by 6 percentage points. Moreover, 71% believed that the human right condition in China would be better in 3 year's time, representing a significant increase of 6 percentage points from that of last year.


Results also showed that 70% of the respondents believed that Hong Kong people had a responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China, the corresponding figure for economic development was 72%. When asked to prioritize democratic and economic developments, 41% said Hong Kong people should put more effort on instigating the economic development of China, 28% chose democratic development, 21% said both. The proportion of respondents who opted for democratic development has surged by 11 percentage points from that of last year. On the other front, 46% believed China should emphasize more on her economic development, 26% opted for democratic development, 22% said both. Compared with last year's findings, the proportion of those who considered democratic development to be the main agenda for China's development has significantly increased by 9 percentage points.


Finally, as regards the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China ("the Alliance"), 17% of the respondents said the Alliance should be disbanded, 43% said no, 40% did not give a definite answer. The latest popularity rating of the Alliance registered in mid-May was 47.5 marks, which was fairly similar to the figure registered same time last year.


Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, made the following analysis: "POP was established two years after the June Fourth Incident, therefore, no opinion data was available for the early years. For the past 11 years which we have data, there were some significant changes in 1997 and 1998. Relatively fewer people supported the Beijing students, more people became optimistic about China's human right development, and more people considered economic development to be the main agenda for China. However, after 1998, people's opinion towards the June Fourth Incident could be considered as fairly stable."


The new poll released in the POP Site today is a random telephone survey conducted by interviewers, targeting at Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong of age 18 or above. The sample size of the survey is 1,067 respondents. At 95% confidence level, the sampling error of the rating of the Alliance is plus/minus 1.6 marks, while that of all percentages is less than plus/minus 3 percentage points. The meaning of "95% confidence level" is that if we were to repeat a certain survey 100 times, using the same questions each time but with different random samples, we would expect 95 times getting a figure within the error margins specified. Shall anyone have any question regarding the research design of the surveys published in the POP Site, members of the POP Team will be happy to answer them, but we will not further comment on the findings. Shall any person or journalist have any other questions, please email them to us at <[email protected]>. The Director of Public Opinion Programme would answer them as soon as possible. We will keep such an arrangement under constant review, suggestions most welcome. Please note that everything carried in the POP Site does not represent the stand of the University of Hong Kong. Dr Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, is responsible for everything posted herewith, except for column articles which represent the stand of their authors.