HKU POP releases findings of the latest annual June Fourth surveyBack

 

Press Release on June 2, 2017

| Detailed Findings (June Fourth Incident) |

Special Announcements

1. Robert Chung, the Director of Public Opinion Programme (POP) of The University of Hong Kong, continues to publish his article series “Chung’s Blunt Words: HKSAR 20th Anniversary Series” in his online column “Chung’s Blunt Words” ( www.facebook.com/ChungsBluntWords ) today. He discusses the changes to role and positioning of Hong Kong citizens toward the development of China. The copyrights of all articles are open to the world, the media are welcome to re-publish the articles in full or in part, early or concurrent publication can also be arranged.

2. To facilitate academic study and rational discussion, POP has already released for public examination some time ago via the “HKU POP SITE” (http://hkupop.hku.hk) the raw data of all 123 regular rating surveys of CE CY Leung, as well as the 181 regular rating surveys of former CE Donald Tsang and 239 regular rating surveys of former CE CH Tung, along with related demographics of respondents. Please follow normal academic standards when using or citing such data.

Abstract

POP interviewed 1,003 Hong Kong people between 22 and 25 May by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers. This is the 25th anniversary survey on the June Fourth Incident conducted by POP, marking its 28th anniversary. From a broad perspective, Hong Kong people’s mainstream opinion still holds that the Chinese Government was wrong in 1989, people still support the Beijing students, and demand a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth. However, the percentage of those believing the Beijing students did the wrong thing has increased to record high since this survey began in 1993, while those not supporting a reversion has increased to record high since 2006. Besides, the percentages of those who consider the human rights condition in China has improved since 1989 and those who think the condition will improve in the next three years have both rebounded from the low points last year, roughly back to the level registered in 2014. Hong Kong people continue to think that they have a responsibility to promote democratic and economic developments in China, but the percentages who believed they have no such responsibility have again reached their record highs since 1993 and 1996 respectively. Both in terms of absolute and relative measurements, democratic development takes priority over economic development. This probably reflects Hong Kong people’s wish on the future development of the Mainland. Compared to a year ago, the popularity rating of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China has significantly dropped by 3.2 marks to 46.9 marks. The percentage of people who oppose to disbanding the Alliance has also decreased by 5 percentage points to 46%, but they remain to be the majority as compared to the 25% who support the disbanding. Further analyses show that the younger the respondents, the more they blame the Chinese Government, the more they support the Beijing students, and the more they demand for a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth. This probably reflects the demand for democracy among the younger generation. The maximum sampling error of all percentage figures is +/-3 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figure is +/-1.7. The response rate of the survey is 70%.

Points to note:

[1] The address of the “HKU POP SITE” is http://hkupop.hku.hk, journalists can check out the details of the survey there.

[2] The sample size of this survey is 1,003 successful interviews, not 1,003 x 69.7% response rate. In the past, many media made this mistake.

[3] “95% confidence level” means 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. When quoting these figures, journalists can state “sampling error of rating not more than +/-1.7, sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3% at 95% confidence level”.

[4] Because of sampling errors in conducting the survey(s) and the rounding procedures in processing the data, the figures cannot be too precise, and the totals may not be completely accurate. Therefore, when quoting percentages of the survey(s), journalists should refrain from reporting decimal places, but when quoting the rating figures, one decimal place can be used.

[5] The data of this survey is collected by means of random telephone interviews conducted by real interviewers, not by any interactive voice system (IVS). If a research organization uses “computerized random telephone survey” to camouflage its IVS operation, it should be considered unprofessional.


Latest Figures

POP today releases on schedule via the “HKU POP SITE” the findings of the latest annual June Fourth survey. From 2014, POP enhanced the previous simple weighting method based on age and gender distribution to “rim weighting” based on age, gender and education (highest level attended) distribution. The latest figures released today have been rim-weighted according to provisional figures obtained from the Census and Statistics Department regarding the gender-age distribution of the Hong Kong population in 2016 year-end and the educational attainment (highest level attended) distribution collected in the 2011 Census. Herewith the contact information for the latest survey:

Date of survey

Overall sample size

Response rate

Maximum sampling error of percentages[6]

22-25/5/2017

1,003

69.7%

+/-3%

[6] Calculated at 95% confidence level using full sample size. “95% confidence level” means 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. Questions using only sub-samples would have bigger sample error. Sampling errors of ratings are calculated according to the distribution of the scores collected.


Figures of latest annual June Fourth survey are summarized as follows:

Date of survey

23-25/5/13

17-22/5/14

22-28/5/15

16-19/5/16

22-25/5/17

Latest change

Sample base

1,013

1,005

1,089

1,001

1,003

--

Overall response rate

67.8%

66.8%

65.1%

67.6%

69.7%

--

Finding for each question /
Sampling error

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding and error[7]

--

Proportion of respondents believing:

The Beijing students did the right thing

54%

48%[8]

49%

47%

46+/-3%

-1%

The Beijing students did the wrong thing

15%

17%

17%

17%

22+/-3%

+5%[8]

The Chinese Government did the right thing

10%

12%

14%

11%[8]

12+/-2%

+1%

The Chinese Government did the wrong thing

68%

64%

63%

66%

69+/-3%

+3%

There should be a reversion of the official stand on the incident

63%

56%[8]

52%[8]

59%[8]

55+/-3%

-4%[8]

There should not be a reversion of the official stand on the incident

16%

20%[8]

24%[8]

20%[8]

27+/-3%

+7%[8]

China’s human rights condition has improved since 1989

51%[8]

56%[8]

61%[8]

46%[8]

53+/-3%

+7%[8]

China’s human rights condition has worsened since 1989

18%[8]

19%

15%[8]

24%[8]

23+/-3%

-1%

China’s human rights condition would improve after 3 years

40%[8]

40%

44%[8]

32%[8]

38+/-3%

+6%[8]

China’s human rights condition would worsen after 3 years

16%

19%

16%[8]

25%[8]

23+/-3%

-2%

HK people have a responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China

68%

65%

66%

62%[8]

58+/-3%

-4%[8]

HK people have no responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China

20%

21%

24%

27%

30+/-3%

+3%

HK people have a responsibility to instigate economic development in China

67%[8]

62%[8]

62%

57%[8]

58+/-3%

+1%

HK people have no responsibility to instigate economic development in China

24%

26%

28%

34%[8]

36+/-3%

+2%

HK people should put more effort on instigating economic than democratic development in China

25%[8]

31%[8]

29%

29%

32+/-3%

+3%

HK people should put more effort on instigating democratic than economic development in China

42%[8]

37%[8]

37%

36%

38+/-3%

+2%

China should emphasize more on economic development

25%[8]

28%

28%

29%

32+/-3%

+3%

China should emphasize more on democratic development

48%[8]

45%

41%[8]

44%

46+/-3%

+2%

[7] All error figures in the table are calculated at 95% confidence level. “95% confidence level” means 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. Media can state “sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3% at 95% confidence level” when quoting the above figures. The error margin of previous survey can be found at the POP Site.

[8] Such changes have gone beyond the sampling errors at the 95% confidence level under the same weighting method, meaning that they are statistically significant prima facie. However, whether numerical differences are statistically significant or not is not the same as whether they are practically useful or meaningful.


This year’s survey findings revealed that 46% of the respondents believed that the Beijing students did the right thing in 1989, while 22% believed that they did the wrong thing. Meanwhile, with regard to the way the Chinese Government handled the matter at that time, 12% regarded it as correct and 69% regarded it as wrong.


The findings also showed that 55% of the respondents supported a reversion of the official stand on the incident while 27% did not. Regarding the human rights condition in China, 53% of the respondents believed that China’s human rights condition has been improved since 1989, and 38% anticipated that China’s human rights condition will be improved after 3 years.

Moreover, 58% of the respondents believed that Hong Kong people had a responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China, whereas on the economic aspect, 58% believed that Hong Kong people had such a responsibility. When comparing democratic and economic development, 32% of the respondents believed Hong Kong people should put more effort on instigating economic development in China, while 38% of the respondents put more weight on the development of democracy. Furthermore, 32% believed that China should emphasize more on its economic development, while 46% believed that China should emphasize more on the development of democracy.

Latest figures regarding the HK Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China (“the Alliance”) are as follows:

Date of survey

23-25/5/13

17-22/5/14

22-28/5/15

16-19/5/16

22-25/5/17

Latest change

Sample base

1,013

1,005

1,089

1,001

1,003

--

Overall response rate

67.8%

66.8%

65.1%

67.6%

69.7%

--

Finding for each question /
Sampling error

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding and e rror[9]

--

Popularity rating of the HK Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China (“the Alliance”)

52.8

50.1[10]

44.6[10]

50.1[10]

46.9+/-1.7

-3.2[10]

The Alliance should be disbanded

16%

18%

26%[10]

21%[10]

25+/-3%

+4%[10]

The Alliance should not be disbanded

48%[10]

44%

38%[10]

51%[10]

46+/-3%

-5%[10]

[9] All error figures in the table are calculated at 95% confidence level. “95% confidence level” means 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. Media can state “sampling error of rating not more than +/-1.7, sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3% at 95% confidence level” when quoting the above figures. The error margin of previous survey can be found at the POP Site.

[10] Such changes have gone beyond the sampling errors at the 95% confidence level under the same weighting method, meaning that they are statistically significant prima facie. However, whether numerical differences are statistically significant or not is not the same as whether they are practically useful or meaningful.


Lastly, regarding the Alliance, 25% of the respondents said the Alliance should be disbanded, 46% said no. The latest popularity rating of the Alliance was 46.9 marks.


Indepth Analysis

In the survey, we also asked respondents for their age. If they were reluctant to give their exact age, they could give us a range. According to their answers, we grouped them into 18-29, 30-49, and 50 years or older. Herewith further analyses of respondents’ views on the Chinese Government and Beijing students in the June Fourth Incident and on a reversion of the official stand on the incident by respondents’ age:

Date of survey: 22-25/5/17

18-29

30-49

50 or above

Overall sample

Chinese Government did the right / wrong thing in the June Fourth Incident[11]

Right

5+/-3%
(8)

5+/-2%
(19)

20+/-4%
(89)

12+/-2%
(116)

Wrong

87+/-5%
(145)

74+/-5%
(255)

58+/-5%
(260)

69+/-3%
(660)

Don’t know / hard to say

9+/-4%
(14)

21+/-4%
(71)

22+/-4%
(101)

19+/-3%
(187)

Total

100%
(167)

100%
(345)

100%
(451)

100%
(963)

[11] Differences among sub-groups are tested to be statistically significant at 99% confidence level.


Date of survey: 22-25/5/17

18-29

30-49

50 or above

Overall sample

Beijing students did the right / wrong thing in the June Fourth Incident[12]

Right

72+/-7%
(119)

49+/-5%
(171)

34+/-4%
(156)

46+/-3%
(447)

Wrong

7+/-4%
(12)

19+/-4%
(65)

30+/-4%
(136)

22+/-3%
(214)

Don’t know / hard to say

21+/-6%
(35)

32+/-5%
(112)

36+/-4%
(163)

32+/-3%
(311)

Total

100%
(167)

100%
(349)

100%
(456)

100%
(971)

[12] Differences among sub-groups are tested to be statistically significant at 99% confidence level.


Date of survey: 22-25/5/17

18-29

30-49

50 or above

Overall sample

There should be a reversion of the official stand on the incident[13]

Support

75+/-7%
(127)

58+/-5%
(199)

45+/-5%
(205)

55+/-3%
(531)

Do not support

13+/-5%
(21)

22+/-4%
(76)

36+/-5%
(162)

27+/-3%
(259)

Don’t know / hard to say

12+/-5%
(20)

20+/-4%
(67)

19+/-4%
(85)

18+/-2%
(172)

Total

100%
(168)

100%
(342)

100%
(452)

100%
(962)

[13] Differences among sub-groups are tested to be statistically significant at 99% confidence level.



Commentary

Frank Wai-Kin Lee, Research Manager of POP, observed, “This is the 25th anniversary survey on the June Fourth Incident conducted by POP, marking its 28th anniversary. From a broad perspective, Hong Kong people’s mainstream opinion still holds that the Chinese Government was wrong in 1989, people still support the Beijing students, and demand a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth. However, the percentage of those believing the Beijing students did the wrong thing has increased to record high since this survey began in 1993, while those not supporting a reversion has increased to record high since 2006. Besides, the percentages of those who consider the human rights condition in China has improved since 1989 and those who think the condition will improve in the next three years have both rebounded from the low points last year, roughly back to the level registered in 2014. Hong Kong people continue to think that they have a responsibility to promote democratic and economic developments in China, but the percentages who believed they have no such responsibility have again reached their record highs since 1993 and 1996 respectively. Both in terms of absolute and relative measurements, democratic development takes priority over economic development. This probably reflects Hong Kong people’s wish on the future development of the Mainland. Compared to a year ago, the popularity rating of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China has significantly dropped by 3.2 marks to 46.9 marks. The percentage of people who oppose to disbanding the Alliance has also decreased by 5 percentage points to 46%, but they remain to be the majority as compared to the 25% who support the disbanding. Further analyses show that the younger the respondents, the more they blame the Chinese Government, the more they support the Beijing students, and the more they demand for a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth. This probably reflects the demand for democracy among the younger generation.”

Supplementary Information: About annual June Fourth surveys

June Fourth is an important page in the contemporary history of China with a tremendous impact on both the development of Hong Kong and Mainland China. The June Fourth complex which deeply troubled Hong Kong people has dictated the results of many elections, as well as changed the course of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland. Therefore, HKUPOP began to study Hong Kong people’s opinions of June Fourth and human rights conditions in China since 1993. This is the 25th anniversary survey in a row. We have explained the development of this polling series in our press releases in previous years. Today, we publish it again, so that readers can grasp such developments more comprehensively.

Starting from May 1993, we began this June Fourth survey. Ever since then, it is repeated once every year. The survey has asked respondents to rate the Alliance before June Fourth since 1992 and the wordings used in this question are, “Please use a scale of 0-100 to rate your extent of support to the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, with 0 indicating absolutely not supportive, 100 indicating absolutely supportive and 50 indicating half-half. How would you rate the Alliance?”. Other questions include “Do you think the Beijing students did the right thing in the June Fourth Incident?”, “Do you think the Chinese Government did the right thing in the June Fourth Incident?”, “Do you think the human rights condition in China will be better or even worse in three years’ time?”, “Compared to 1989, do you think China’s human rights condition has become better or worse?”, “Do you think Hong Kong people have a responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China?”, “Do you think Hong Kong people should put more effort on instigating development in China’s economy or democracy?”, “Which do you think China needs more economic or democratic development?” and “Do you think the Alliance should be disbanded?”

In 1996, we added a question to survey people’s opinion on whether Hong Kong people have a responsibility to instigate economic development in China while in 1997, we also included a question to see if people would support a reversion of the official stand on the June Fourth Incident.

Regarding sample size, from the beginning to May 1999, the sample size of the survey was set at slightly over 500. Then from May 2000 onwards, it was increased to at least 1,000.

Our findings of previous surveys in May 1999 or before were published in our newsletter POP Express. After our HKU POP Site was established, the findings are released online, while all previous findings published in our POP Express have also uploaded on-line in various formats.

Future Release (Tentative)

  • June 6, 2017 (Tuesday) 1pm to 2pm: Popularity of disciplinary forces