Director of HKU POP, Robert Chung, issues the following statement regarding the survey on the number of participants in the April 11 procession, in response to a number of media enquiries:Back

Open Statement on April 14, 2004


The Director of Public Opinion Programme Robert Chung (i.e. myself) has not participated in any discussion or operation involving the estimation of the number of participants in the April 11 procession. I was not even aware of the operation.



I am disappointed that the government did not release the name of the research organization responsible for the survey. This discredits the survey and blurs the responsibility of the parties involved.



I welcome the government's move to embark on scientific surveys to estimate the number of participants in different processions, and would like to call on the government to repeat the same exercise for all large-scale public gatherings and processions in future. "Large-scale" can be defined as anything with more than 5,000 participants.



I would further call on the government to explain the method and result of all its previous exercises in estimating the number of participants in different public gatherings and processions, so that such information becomes public knowledge.



Regarding the number of participants in the April 11 procession, the government figure of 7,627 released last night, the Police figure of 10,000 released on the day, and the figure of 20,000 released by the Civil Human Rights Front, are extremely different from one another. All three parties now bear the responsibility of explaining their survey methods in detail. Last night's figure of 7,627 is very likely an under-estimation, because it has not taken into consideration the man-flow in and out of the procession.



Looking ahead, I would suggest the government get in touch with professional bodies, like the Hong Kong Statistical Society and the Hong Kong Society of Accountants, as soon as possible, in order to devise a scientific method of head-counting. If the government decides to go on its own way, it should at least have it carried out by their relatively more independent departments, like the Audit Commission and the Census and Statistics Department.


Note: Nothing in this open statement represents the stand of the University of Hong Kong, and the Director of Public Opinion Programme is not prepared to make any further comment for the time being, in order not to heat up the discussion unnecessarily.