The Public Opinion Programme (POP) was established in June 1991 to collect and study public opinion on topics that could be of interest to academics, journalists, policy-makers, and the general public. POP was at first under the Social Sciences Research Centre, a unit under the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Hong Kong, and was transferred to the Journalism and Media Studies Centre in the University of Hong Kong in May 2000. In January 2002, it was transferred back to the Faculty of Social Sciences in the University of Hong Kong. Since its establishment, POP has been conducting opinion researches on various social and political issues and providing quality survey services to a wide range of organizations provided that they agreed to publicizing the findings to the general public, as well as allowing the research team to design and conduct the research independently, and to reserve the right to release the findings for public consumption.


In June 2003, Civic Exchange sponsored the Concern Group on Article 23 of the Basic Law to commission, for the first time, the POP Team to conduct a survey on Hong Kong's people opinion towards the legislation of Article 23 under the Basic Law. Results of that survey showed that, people of Hong Kong were, on the whole, opposed to the SAR Government's legislation for Article 23, both in principle and on practical terms. With respect to specific proposals, people were against all items tested among the list, including the police power to enter peoples' homes without court warrants, the definition and scope of application of the new offence of 'proscription', the idea of sedition, as well as not introducing the defence of "public interest". For details of the findings, please refer to the online survey report of the "Public Opinion Survey on BL23" carried in the "HKU POP SITE".


After the "July 1 Demonstration", on July 5, 2003, the government made three amendments regarding the legislation for Article 23, including the removal of the proscription of groups affiliated with bodies banned on the mainland, the introduction of public interest as a defence in connection with the unlawful disclosure of certain official information, and the deletion of the provision giving the police powers to conduct home searches without a court warrant during emergency investigations. The schedule for passing the amended bill, however, remained to be July 9, 2003. Until the early hours of July 7, 2003, after anticipating the amended bill would not be passed in the Legislative Council, the government finally announced the deferral of the legislation. In order to gauge the public opinion on the Article 23 after such amendments, as well as people's major demand in joining the "July 1 Demonstration", Civic Exchange again sponsored, in July 2003, the Concern Group on Article 23 of the Basic Law to commission the POP Team to conduct a follow-up survey on the relevant issues. The main areas of investigation were:

  • The changes in people's support towards CE and the SAR Government after the "July 1 Demonstration" and the government's three amendments;
  • Whether people accepted the government's concessions;
  • People's latest demands.

Notwithstanding the client's position towards the subject matter, the POP Team was given full autonomy in designing and conducting this study. The questionnaire was designed without consulting any body, and the entire study was conducted by the Team independently without any interference from the client, which might impede the impartiality of the survey in any way.


This report mainly focused on the findings obtained from the Post-"July 1 Demonstration" Opinion Survey on BL23, supplemented with data obtained from regular tracking polls conducted by POP for mapping changes.