HKU POP SITE releases findings of the latest annual June Fourth surveyBack

 
Press Release on June 3, 2008

| Abstract | Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP |
| About HKUPOP | Detailed Findings (Surveys on June Fourth Incident) |


Abstract

The Public Opinion Programme at the University of Hong Kong interviewed 1,023 and 1,007 Hong Kong people between 20 and 22 May as well as between 28 May and 2 June, respectively, by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers. The surveys find that public opinion has been very stable on the questions of whether China should emphasize on economic or democratic development, and whether Hong Kong people should promote economic or democratic development in China. However, on the assessment of China's human right condition now and in future, optimism is at record high since the beginning of this survey series. Moreover, although it is still the majority view that the Chinese Government did the wrong thing in 1989, and that the official stand on June 4 should be reversed, both figures have dropped significantly compared to one year ago. Robert Chung, Director of POP, believes that this is probably due to the Olympic tide and the Sichuan earthquake relief. The sampling error of all percentages is between +/-1 and 3 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figure is +/-1.6. The response rate of the both surveys is 67%.

Points to note:

* The address of the "HKU POP SITE" is http://hkupop.hku.hk, journalists can check out the details of the survey there.
* The respective sample size of the surveys is 1,023 and 1,007 successful interviews, not 1,023 x 67.1% or 1,007 x 67.2% response rate. In the past, many media made this mistake.
* The maximum sampling error of all percentages is below +/-1 to 3 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of rating figure is +/-1.6. "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 +/-1.6 and sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3% at 95% confidence level".
* When quoting percentages of this survey, journalists should refrain from reporting decimal places, but when quoting the rating figures, one decimal place can be used, in order to match the precision level of the figures.
* 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

The Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong today releases on schedule via the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk) the findings of the latest annual June Fourth survey. As a general practice, all figures have been weighted according to provisional figures obtained from the Census and Statistics Department regarding the gender-age distribution of the Hong Kong population at the end of 2007. Herewith the contact information for the latest survey:

Date of survey

Overall sample size

Response rate

Sampling error of rating/ percentages*

20-22/5/08

1,023

67.1%

+/-1.6

28/5-2/6/08

1,007

67.2%

+/-3%

* 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

18-20/5/04

21-24/5/05

18-25/5/06

16-25/5/07

28/5-2/6/08

Latest change

Sample base

1,039

1,001

1,022

1,008

1,007

--

Overall response rate

62.3%

59.0%

62.0%

61.1%

67.2%

--

Sampling error of percentages (at 95% conf. level)*

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

--

Finding for each question/Sampling error*

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Sampling error

--

Proportion of respondents believing:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beijing students did the right thing

42%

46%

53%

50%

50%

+/-3%

--

The Beijing students did the wrong thing

19%

18%

22%

19%

15%

+/-2%

-4%

The Chinese Government did the right thing

10%

13%

18%

13%

15%

+/-2%

+2%

The Chinese Government did the wrong thing

67%

62%

63%

63%

58%

+/-3%

-5%

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

54%

56%

56%

55%

49%

+/-3%

-6%

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

23%

21%

28%

24%

26%

+/-3%

+2%

China's human right condition had been improved since 1989

70%

79%

80%

78%

85%

+/-2%

+7%

China's human right condition had been worsened since 1989

8%

3%

3%

4%

2%

+/-1%

-2%

China's human right condition would be improved after 3 years

63%

68%

69%

67%

77%

+/-3%

+10%

China's human right condition would be worsened after 3 years

4%

4%

3%

3%

2%

+/-1%

-1%

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

71%

75%

76%

75%

76%

+/-3%

+1%

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

16%

13%

17%

16%

14%

+/-2%

-2%

HK people had a responsibility to instigate the economic development in China

76%

82%

83%

82%

81%

+/-2%

-1%

HK people had no responsibility to instigate the economic development in China

13%

11%

11%

12%

11%

+/-2%

-1%

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

44%

43%

45%

44%

42%

+/-3%

-2%

HK people should put more effort on instigating the development of democracy than economy in China

24%

24%

27%

26%

23%

+/-3%

-3%

China should emphasize more on the economic development

50%

46%

47%

45%

46%

+/-3%

+1%

China should emphasize more on the development of democracy

23%

26%

28%

29%

27%

+/-3%

-2%

* "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.

This year's survey findings revealed that 50% of the respondents believed that the Beijing students did the right thing in 1989, while 15% believed that they did the wrong thing. Meanwhile, with regard to the way the Chinese Government handled the matter at that time, 15% regarded it as correct and 58% regarded it as wrong.

The findings also showed that 49% of the respondents supported a reversion of the official stand on the incident while 26% did not. Regarding the human right condition in China, 85% of the respondents believed that China's human right condition has been improved since 1989, and 77% anticipated that China's human right condition will be improved after 3 years.

Moreover, 76% of the respondents believed that Hong Kong people had a responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China, whereas on the economic aspect, 81% believed that Hong Kong people had such a responsibility. When comparing democracy and economic development, 42% of the respondents believed Hong Kong people should put more effort on instigating the economic development in China, while 23% of the respondents put more weight on the development of democracy. Furthermore, 46% believed that China should emphasize more on her economic development, while 27% 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

21-24/5/05

18-25/5/06

16-25/5/07

20-22/5/08^

28/5-2/6/08

Latest change

Sample base

1,001

1,022

1,008

1,023

1,007

--

Overall response rate

59.0%

62.0%

61.1%

67.1%

67.2%

--

Maximum sampling error of ratings (at 95% conf. level)*

+/-1.6

+/-1.6

+/-1.6

+/-1.6

--

--

Sampling error of percentages (at 95% conf. level)*

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

--

+/-3%

--

Finding for each question/Sampling error*

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Sampling error

Finding

Sampling error

--

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

46.4

44.8

46.9

46.4

+/-1.6

--

--

-0.5

The Alliance should be disbanded

19%

21%

21%

--

--

23%

+/-3%

+2%

The Alliance should not be disbanded

47%

51%

49%

--

--

46%

+/-3%

-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.
^ Popularity rating of the HK Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China was recorded during the Rating Survey of the Top 10 Political Groups conducted between 20 and 22 May 2008.


Finally, regarding the Alliance, 23% of the respondents said the Alliance should be disbanded, 46% said no. The latest popularity rating of the Alliance was 46.4 marks.

Commentary

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme observed, "This is the 16th anniversary survey on June Fourth conducted by POP. According to our latest survey, public opinion has been very stable on the questions of whether China should emphasize on economic or democratic development, and whether Hong Kong people should promote economic or democratic development in China. However, on the assessment of China's human right condition now and in future, optimism is at record high since the beginning of this survey series. Moreover, although it is still the majority view that the Chinese Government did the wrong thing in 1989, and that the official stand on June 4 should be reversed, both figures have dropped significantly compared to one year ago, probably due to the Olympic tide and the Sichuan earthquake relief."

News about POP

POP's normal practice is to release the results of our regular surveys every Tuesday afternoon via our POP Site, except during public holidays, each time with a forecast of the items to be released in the next 7 days. According to schedule, our next release of regular survey findings will be June 5, 2008, Thursday, between 1pm and 2pm, when survey results on people's most familiar political figures will be released. Then on June 10, 2008, Tuesday, between 1pm and 2pm, POP will release the latest popularity figures of CE Donald Tsang and Principal Officials.

Our general practice is to answer all questions on the research design of the surveys published in the POP Site as soon as we receive them, but we will not further comment on the findings. We welcome questions for follow-up purpose, please email them to us at <[email protected]>. 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 POP, is responsible for everything posted herewith, except for column articles which represent the stand of their authors.

Since January 2006, we have included in our regular press releases a small educational section for the purpose of sharing our research experience with the readers and the general public, and the subject of our education section today is "About HKUPOP".

About HKUPOP

Mapping the annual June Fourth survey

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 right conditions in China since 1993. This is the 16th anniversary survey in a row. We explained the development of this polling series in our press release dated on 31 May, 2007. Today, we release it again, so that readers can refresh such development.
  • Starting from May 1993, we began this June Fourth survey. Ever since the beginning, it is conducted once every year.


  • The question wordings used in this survey are, "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 right condition in China will be better or even worse in three years' time?", "Compared to 1989, do you think China's human right 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.


  • Respondents are also asked to rate the Alliance before June Forth. We started to measure people's extent of support to the Alliance since 1992. 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?".


  • 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.



| Abstract | Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP |
| About HKUPOP | Detailed Findings (Surveys on June Fourth Incident) |