HKU POP SITE releases the latest findings of people's opinions towards Taiwan issues, Tibet issues and their appraisal of past Chinese leadersBack

 
Press Release on September 16, 2008

| Special Announcement | Abstract | 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 / Merits and Faults of Past Chinese Leaders) |


Special Announcement

Sponsored by a number of organizations, the 2008 Legislative Council election rolling poll designed and conducted independently by the Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong is now complete. Its major findings and charts have been uploaded onto the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk) for public consumption. POP is still organizing its exit poll data, and would be able to upload its findings onto the POP Site within two weeks.

Abstract

POP interviewed 1,006 Hong Kong people between 10 and 12 September by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers. The survey finds that compared to three months ago, Hong Kong people's opinion towards Taiwan, Tibet and reunification issues has not changed much. Almost all variations fall within sampling errors. Put it simple, people's opposition to the independence of Taiwan and Tibet remains high, their confidence in reunification across the strait and the applicability of "one country, two systems" to Taiwan remains positive. About half opposes to Taiwan rejoining the United Nations, which is lower than that opposing the independence of Taiwan. This shows that some people are quite sympathetic to Taiwan's quest for more international space. On the other hand, compared to six months ago, people's appraisal of the merits and faults of past Chinese leaders Deng Xiaoping, Zhao Ziyang and Yang Shangkun has remained fairly stable. The sampling error of all percentages released today is between +/-1 to 3 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the response rate of the survey is 62%.

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 1,006 successful interviews, not 1,006 x 62.2% 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. "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.


Latest Figures

POP today releases via the POP Site the latest figures of people's opinions towards Taiwan, Tibet issues and their appraisal of past Chinese leaders. 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*

10-12/9/2008

1,006

62.2%

+/-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.

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

Date of survey

4-7/9/07

11-14/12/07

12-14/3/08

11-13/6/08

10-12/9/08

Latest change

Sample base

1,025

1,011

1,017

1,012

1,006

--

Overall response rate

66.0%

65.1%

65.8%

67.4%

62.2%

--

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

--

Taiwan independence: Opposition rate

83%

82%

80%

81%

79%

+/-3%

-2%

Taiwan independence: Support rate

11%

10%

12%

11%

11%

+/-2%

--

Tibet independence: Opposition rate

69%

69%

71%

82%

80%

+/-3%

-2%

Tibet independence: Support rate

14%

10%

11%

7%

7%

+/-2%

--

Confidence in cross-strait reunification

54%

49%

56%

59%

59%

+/-3%

--

No-confidence in cross-strait reunification

38%

38%

33%

31%

29%

+/-3%

-2%

Taiwan rejoining the United Nations: Opposition rate

68%

66%

58%

46%

49%

+/-3%

+3%

Taiwan rejoining the United Nations: Support rate

22%

20%

25%

37%

33%

+/-3%

-4%#

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

51%

52%

61%

60%

59%

+/-3%

-1%

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

39%

34%

27%

29%

29%

+/-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.
# Such changes have gone beyond the sampling errors at the 95% confidence level, 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.


Results obtained in mid-September revealed that 79% of Hong Kong people interviewed opposed the independence of Taiwan whereas only 11% showed support. Meanwhile, 80% objected Tibet becoming independent whilst only 7% held a positive view. Besides, 59% were confident in the ultimate reunification across the strait whilst 29% expressed no confidence. Moreover, 49% opposed Taiwan rejoining the United Nations, 33% supported it. As for the applicability of "one country, two systems" to Taiwan, 59% gave a positive view while 29% gave a negative answer.

As for respondents' appraisals of the merits and faults of past Chinese leaders, POP has been tracking people's appraisal of these leaders since 1995, but our series on Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Chiang Kai Shek stopped in 2003, while that on more recently deceased leaders Zhao Ziyang, Yang Shangkun and Deng Xiaoping continued. The most recent results are summarized as follows:

Date of survey

1-7/9/06

13-16/3/07

4-7/9/07

12-14/3/08

10-12/9/08

Latest change

Sample base

1,007

1,036

1,025

1,017

1,006

--

Overall response rate

57.5%

61.2%

66.0%

65.8%

62.2%

--

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

+/- 3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

--

Percentage / sampling error*

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Sampling error

--

Deng Xiaoping had accrued more merits

79%

81%

82%

77%

80%

+/-3%

+3%

Deng Xiaoping had accrued more faults

3%

2%

3%

3%

3%

+/-1%

--

Zhao Ziyang had accrued more merits

59%

58%

59%

48%

51%

+/-3%

+3%

Zhao Ziyang had accrued more faults

4%

3%

3%

4%

3%

+/-1%

-1%

Yang Shangkun had accrued more merits

17%

17%

21%

14%

17%

+/-2%

+3%#

Yang Shangkun had accrued more faults

20%

18%

20%

16%

15%

+/-2%

-1%

* "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.
# Such changes have gone beyond the sampling errors at the 95% confidence level, 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.


According to our latest survey, those considering Deng Xiaoping and Zhao Ziyang have accrued more merits than faults in the development of China accounted for 80% and 51% respectively. For Yang Shangkun, 17% of the respondents thought he has accrued more merits than faults, 15% found more faults than merits in Yang.

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, using the previous survey as a reference point for comparison, our "Opinion Daily" for this release starts on September 6, 2007, because the previous survey of some items was conducted from March 12 to 14, 2008 while this survey was conducted from September 10-12, 2008. During this period, 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.

4/8/08

A suspected terrorist attack in the western region of Xinjiang killed 16 police officers.

1/8/08

President Hu Jintao has pledged to pursue comprehensive economic and political reforms following the Beijing Olympics.

26/7/08

A previously unknown Xinjiang separatist group, calling itself the Turkestan Islamic Party, has claimed responsibility for deadly bus explosions in two mainland cities, and threatened more attacks on Olympic host cities.

8/7/08

Vice-President Xi Jinping wound up his three-day visit in Hong Kong.

7/7/08

Vice-President Xi Jinping continues visit in Hong Kong.

6/7/08

Vice-president Xi Jinping pledges Beijing support for city.

5/7/08

Vice President Xi Jinping will arrive in Hong Kong tomorrow.

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.

24/5/08

Premier Wen Jiabao meets UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at quake epicentre.

20/5/08

Ma Ying-jeou inaugurated as Taiwan's president.

16/5/08

President Hu Jintao stresses saving lives as top priority.

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, "Compared to three months ago, Hong Kong people's opinion towards Taiwan, Tibet and reunification issues has not changed much. Almost all variations fall within sampling errors. Put it simple, people's opposition to the independence of Taiwan and Tibet remains high, their confidence in reunification across the strait and the applicability of "one country, two systems" to Taiwan remains positive. About half opposes to Taiwan rejoining the United Nations, which is lower than that opposing the independence of Taiwan. This shows that some people are quite sympathetic to Taiwan's quest for more international space. On the other hand, compared to six months ago, people's appraisal of the merits and faults of past Chinese leaders Deng Xiaoping, Zhao Ziyang and Yang Shangkun has remained fairly stable. 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 September 23, 2008, Tuesday, between 1pm to 2 pm, when the latest popularity figures of CE Donald Tsang and the HKSAR Government will be released.

POP will also follow the rhythm of the WorldPublicOpinion.org (WPO) to globally release the Chinese versions of WPO's press releases regularly, via our "World Public Opinion Platform" accessible through our POP Site and the "Hong Kong People's Opinion Platform" at http://www.hkpop.hk.

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 issues, Tibet issues and appraisals of the merits and faults of past Chinese leaders

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 issues, Tibet issues and the appraisal of deceased Chinese leaders long time ago. We have explained the development of the Taiwan and Tibet issues surveys and that of the "appraisal of past Chinese leaders" survey in our press releases of September 18, 2007, April 11 as well as June 19, 2008. Today, we post it again, so that readers can refresh their memory on 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.


(3) Appraisal of the merits and faults of past Chinese leaders
  • Since February 1995, POP has surveyed people's appraisal of the merits and faults of past Chinese leaders, including Deng Xiaoping, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Chiang Kai Shek. Our series stopped in July 2003, but then resumed in March 2005. Except Deng Xiaoping, others have been replaced by more recently deceased leaders, Zhao Ziyang and Yang Shangkun. From the beginning to January 1997, the survey was conducted almost once every month until February 1997 when it was then changed to about once every four months. Since July 2000, it was changed to once every six months (except 2004 when no poll was conducted) to cope with the social development.


  • The question wordings used in "appraisal of past Chinese leaders" survey are, "Would you say Mao Zedong/ Zhou Enlai/ Chiang Kai Shek/ Deng Xiaoping/ Zhao Ziyang/ Yang Shangkun has accrued more merit or demerit in the development of China?".


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


Our findings of Taiwan issues, Tibet issues and appraisal of the merits and faults of past Chinese leaders surveys 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 / Merits and Faults of Past Chinese Leaders) |