HKU POP SITE releases the latest findings of people's opinions towardsBack

 
Press Release on June 19, 2008

| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Opinion Daily | Commentary |
| News about POP | About HKUPOP |
| Detailed Findings (Opinion on Independence of Taiwan / Confidence in Cross-strait Reunification) |
| Detailed Findings (Opinion on Applicability of "One Country, Two Systems" to Taiwan) |
| Detailed Findings (Opinion on Taiwan's Rejoining the United Nations / Tibet Issues) |


Abstract

The Public Opinion Programme at the University of Hong Kong interviewed 1,012 Hong Kong people between 11 and 13 June by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers. The survey finds that with Ma Ying-jeou becoming Taiwan's new president, the thawing of cross-strait relationship, and the surge in attention on Tibet due to the Beijing Olympics, significant changes have occurred in Hong Kong people's opinion on the issues of Taiwan and Tibet. On Tibet, the percentage of people opposing to its independence has surged 11 percentage points over the past three months. It now stands at 82%, more or less like that opposing to the independence of Taiwan. This is record high since this survey began in 1993. As for Taiwan, although the majority view of opposing Taiwan independence, considering "one country, two systems" applicable to Taiwan, and feeling positive about ultimate reunification across the strait has not changed much, the percentage opposing to Taiwan rejoining the United Nations has significantly dropped 12 percentage points. According to Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, the fact that Hong Kong people oppose Taiwan independence very much, but not that much to Taiwan rejoining the United Nations, shows that Hong Kong people are quite sympathetic to Taiwan's quest for more international space. The sampling error of all percentages released today is between +/-2 to +/-3 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the response rate of the survey 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 sample size of this survey is 1,012 successful interviews, not 1,012 x 67.4% response rate. In the past, many media made this mistake.
* The maximum sampling error of all percentages is below +/-2 to 3 percentage points 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. When quoting these figures, journalists can state "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 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.


Background

Since June 1993 and continuously for 15 years, POP has been regularly surveying Hong Kong people's opinion on the independence of Taiwan and Tibet, as part of our survey series on national issues. All surveys on Tibet independence conducted in or before June 1999 were published in our newsletter POP Express. After our POP Site was established in June 2000, we gradually move our survey items on-line one by one. In April 2008, POP decided to collate all previous findings on Tibet and Taiwan independence together, and present them in parallel for public reference. As for previous findings already published in our POP Express, they are available in the "Archive" section of our POP Site.

Latest Figures

POP today releases via the POP Site the latest figures of people's opinions towards Taiwan and Tibet issues. All the 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 in 2007 year-end. Herewith the contact information for the survey:

Date of survey

Sample base

Overall response rate

Sampling error of percentages*

11-13/6/08

1,012

67.4%

+/-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.

Recent figures of people's opinions towards Taiwan and Tibet issues are summarized as follows:

Date of survey

8-12/6/07

4-7/9/07

11-14/12/07

12-14/3/08

11-13/6/08

Latest change

Sample base

1,016

1,025

1,011

1,017

1,012

--

Overall response rate

69.5%

66.0%

65.1%

65.8%

67.4%

--

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

--

Taiwan independence: Opposition rate

79%

83%

82%

80%

81%

+/-2%

+1%

Taiwan independence: Support rate

11%

11%

10%

12%

11%

+/-2%

-1%

Tibet independence: Opposition rate

64%

69%

69%

71%

82%

+/-2%

+11%

Tibet independence: Support rate

13%

14%

10%

11%

7%

+/-2%

-4%

Confidence in cross-strait reunification

51%

54%

49%

56%

59%

+/-3%

+3%

No-confidence in cross-strait reunification

37%

38%

38%

33%

31%

+/-3%

-2%

Taiwan rejoining the United Nations: Opposition rate

64%

68%

66%

58%

46%

+/-3%

-12%

Taiwan rejoining the United Nations: Support rate

19%

22%

20%

25%

37%

+/-3%

+12%

Believed "one country, two systems" was applicable to Taiwan

52%

51%

52%

61%

60%

+/-3%

-1%

Believed "one country, two systems" was not applicable to Taiwan

33%

39%

34%

27%

29%

+/-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.

Results obtained in mid-June revealed that 81% of Hong Kong people interviewed opposed the independence of Taiwan whereas only 11% showed support. Meanwhile, 82% objected Tibet becoming independent whilst only 7% held a positive view. Besides, 59% were confident in the ultimate reunification across the strait whilst 31% expressed no confidence. Moreover, 46% opposed Taiwan rejoining the United Nations, 37% supported it. As for the applicability of "one country, two systems" to Taiwan, 60% gave a positive view while 29% gave a negative answer.

Opinion Daily

In January 2007, POP opened a feature page called "Opinion Daily" at the "POP Site", to record significant events and selected polling figures on a day-to-day basis. Our purpose is to provide readers with accurate information so that they can judge by themselves the reasons for the ups and downs of different opinion figures. When "Opinion Daily" began to operate on January 17, 2007, it only contained significant events and popularity figures of the Chief Executive over the past few months. As of today, it contains a chronology of events starting from May 1, 2006, and many poll figures registered since January 1, 2006. Readers can now check on the results of 9 different polling items compiled by POP, including the popularity of the Chief Executive, the HKSAR government, and the Secretaries of Departments under the accountability system. In near future, the content of "Opinion Daily" will continue to expand, in order to promote the science of opinion polling.

In July 2007, POP collaborated with Wisers Information Limited whereby Wisers supplies to POP since July 24 each day a record of significant events of that day, according to the research method designed by POP. These daily entries would be uploaded to the "Opinion Daily" feature page as soon as they are verified by POP, in order to provide readers with swifter and more accurate information.

In August 2007, POP began to include in its regular press releases a list of significant events which happened in between two surveys, so that readers can make their own judgment on whether these events have any effect on the ups and downs of the polling figures. This press release is no exception.

For the polling items covered in this press release, the previous survey was conducted from March 12 to 14, 2008 while this survey was conducted from June 11 to 13, 2008. In between these two surveys, herewith the significant events selected from counting newspaper headlines and commentaries on a daily basis and covered by at least 25% of the local newspaper articles. Readers can make their own judgment if these significant events have any impacts to different polling figures.

13/6/08

The mainland and Taiwan have agreed to regular weekend cross-strait charter flights and to allow more mainland tourists to visit Taiwan.

12/6/08

The mainland and Taiwan have agreed to open semi-official representative offices on each other's soil to strengthen cross-strait relations.

28/5/08

Hu Jintao and Wu Poh-hsiung have a meeting at the Great Hall of the People.

20/5/08

Ma Ying-jeou inaugurated as Taiwan's president.

4/5/08

Chinese officials and representatives of the Dalai Lama have a meeting in Shenzhen.

13/4/08

Siew Wan-chang finds the Boao Forum fruitful.

12/4/08

Hu Jintao and Siew Wan-chang meet in Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan.

26/3/08

Beijing Olympic Games becomes politicized due to Tibet incident.

24/3/08

Many newspapers report the effects of Ma Ying-jeou's victory as Taiwan's president on cross-strait development.

23/3/08

Ma Ying-jeou expresses his views on cross-strait issues after elected as Taiwan's president.

22/3/08

Ma Ying-jeou wins Taiwan's presidential election.

21/3/08

Taiwan's presidential election will be held tomorrow.

16/3/08

Riots stopped in Tibet, but violence spreads to Sichuan.

15/3/08

At least 10 people have been killed in Lhasa's violence.


Commentary

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, "With Ma Ying-jeou becoming Taiwan's new president, the thawing of cross-strait relationship, and the surge in attention on Tibet due to the Beijing Olympics, significant changes have occurred in Hong Kong people's opinion on the issues of Taiwan and Tibet. On Tibet, the percentage of people opposing to its independence has surged 11 percentage points over the past three months. It now stands at 82%, more or less like that opposing to the independence of Taiwan. This is record high since this survey began in 1993. As for Taiwan, although the majority view of opposing Taiwan independence, considering "one country, two systems" applicable to Taiwan, and feeling positive about ultimate reunification across the strait has not changed much, the percentage opposing to Taiwan rejoining the United Nations has significantly dropped 12 percentage points. The fact that Hong Kong people oppose Taiwan independence very much, but not that much to Taiwan rejoining the United Nations, shows that people are quite sympathetic to Taiwan's quest for more international space. As for the reasons affecting the ups and downs of different figures, readers are free to form their own judgment using the detailed records displayed in our "Opinion Daily"."

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 24, 2008, Tuesday, between 1pm and 2pm, when the latest popularity figures of CE Donald Tsang and the HKSAR Government will be released. Then on June 26, 2008, Thursday, between 1pm and 2pm, POP will release the latest figures on the popularity of SAR, Central and Taiwan Governments, and people's confidence in the future.

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 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". In the near future, we will keep on stepping up our effort in promoting general civic education to enhance our POP Site accordingly.

About HKUPOP

Taiwan and Tibet issues

Be it under British colonial rule or under "one country, two systems", Hong Kong has always been part of China. It thus seems natural for HKUPOP to survey people's opinion on Chinese national and ethnical issues, if we can squeeze some resources. This is exactly what we did, when we embarked on conducting the regular surveys on Taiwan and Tibet issues. We have explained the development of surveys on Taiwan and Tibet issues in our press releases of April 11, 2008. Today, we release it again so that readers can have a more comprehensive picture of such development.

(1) Taiwan issues
  • Two years after HKUPOP was established, in June 1993, we began our regular surveys on Hong Kong people's views on different Taiwan issues. They include: Taiwan independence, Taiwan joining the United Nations, Hong Kong people's trust of the Taiwan government, and people's confidence in cross-strait reunification. By 1996, shortly before Hong Kong's handover, whether "one country, two systems" should be equally applicable to Taiwan or not became a talking point for peoples across the Strait. HKUPOP therefore added it to the pool of tracking questions. Starting from April 2000, the survey was conducted once every two months but in June 2000, its frequency was changed to once every three months to cope with the social conditions.


  • In terms of wording, the 4 questions used in the questionnaire are "Are you confident in the ultimate reunification of Taiwan and Mainland China?", "Do you agree to Taiwan rejoining the United Nations?", "Do you agree to Taiwan becoming independent?" and "Do you think "one country, two systems" is applicable to Taiwan?"


  • Regarding sample size, from the beginning to April 2000, the sample size of Taiwan issues survey was set at slightly over 500. From June 2000 onwards, it was increased to at least 1,000.


(2) Tibet issue
  • As for the Tibet issues survey, we began our regular surveys on the independence of Tibet in June 1993. From the beginning to April 2000, the survey was conducted once every two months. Since June 2000 onwards, the frequency of this survey was changed to once every three months to cope with the social development.


  • The question wordings used in the survey are, "Do you agree to Tibet becoming independent?"


  • Regarding the sample size, from the beginning to April 2000, the sample size of Tibet issues survey was set at slightly over 500. From June 2000 onwards, it was increased to at least 1,000.


Findings of our surveys on Taiwan and Tibet issues are released online via POP Site.


| Abstract | Background | Latest Figures | Opinion Daily | Commentary |
| News about POP | About HKUPOP |
| Detailed Findings (Opinion on Independence of Taiwan / Confidence in Cross-strait Reunification) |
| Detailed Findings (Opinion on Applicability of "One Country, Two Systems" to Taiwan) |
| Detailed Findings (Opinion on Taiwan's Rejoining the United Nations / Tibet Issues) |