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

 
Press Release on May 27, 2009

| Abstract | Latest Figures | Commentary | Supplementary Information: About annual June Fourth surveys |
| Next Release (Tentative) | Detailed Findings (Surveys on June Fourth Incident) |


Abstract

The Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong interviewed 1,011 Hong Kong people between 19 and 22 May by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers. The survey finds that the percentage of Hong Kong people sympathetic with the Beijing students has reached record high since 1994 the 5th anniversary, and the percentage of people blaming the Central Government is at a 13-year high. The figures are respectively over 55% and almost 70%, representing increases of 6 and 11 percentage points compared to one year ago. Moreover, over 60% support a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth, which is record high since this question was introduced in 1997. Almost 80% consider China's human right condition has improved since 1989, over 60% are optimistic about future development. Although both figures are high, they are considerably lower than last year's figures. As on the apparent contradiction between economic and democratic development, our survey finds that a significant majority of Hong Kong people consider themselves responsible for promoting both economic and democratic development in China, although more opt for economic development. The difference is 81% versus 78% this year, which is very small. If one has to choose one among the two, the ratio becomes 39% versus 29% in favour of economic development. This difference is the smallest one registered in 17 anniversary surveys. Likewise, if one has to choose between economic and democratic development as China's priority, the ratio becomes 46% versus 31% in favour of economic development. This difference is also the smallest one across 17 anniversary surveys. In other words, although Hong Kong people generally recognize China's achievement in its economic development, more and more people would like to see China develops its democracy at the same time. Finally, our survey finds that although the support rating of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China has increased to 48 marks, it has remained under 50 for 10 consecutive anniversary surveys. Nevertheless, 60% disagree to the dissolution of the Alliance, which is record high across all 17 anniversary surveys. It seems that Hong Kong people's feeling towards the Alliance is no less complex than that towards June Fourth. 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 +/-1.4. The response rate of the survey is 68%.

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 1,011 successful interviews, 1,011 x 68.3% 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 +/-1.4. "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 +/-1.4 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

POP 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 2008. Herewith the contact information for the latest survey:

Date of survey

Overall sample size

Response rate

Sampling error of rating/ percentages*

19-22/5/2009

1,011

68.3%

+/-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

21-24/5/05

18-25/5/06

16-25/5/07

28/5-2/6/08

19-22/5/2009

Latest change

Sample base

1,001

1,022

1,008

1,007

1,011

--

Overall response rate

59.0%

62.0%

61.1%

67.2%

68.3%

--

Finding for each question/Sampling error

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding and error*

--

Proportion of respondents believing:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beijing students did the right thing

46%#

53%

50%

50%

56% +/-3%

+6%#

The Beijing students did the wrong thing

18%#

22%

19%#

15%#

19%+/-2%

+4%#

The Chinese Government did the right thing

13%#

18%#

13%

15%

13% +/-2%

-2%

The Chinese Government did the wrong thing

62%

63%

63%#

58%#

69% +/-3%

+11%#

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

56%

56%

55%#

49%#

61% +/-3%

+12%#

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

21%#

28%#

24%

26%

22% +/-3%

-4%#

China's human right condition has improved since 1989

79%

80%#

78%#

85%#

78% +/-3%

-7%#

China's human right condition has worsened since 1989

3%

3%

4%#

2%#

5% +/-1%

+3%#

China's human right condition would improve after 3 years

68%

69%

67%#

77%#

63% +/-3%

-14%#

China's human right condition would worsen after 3 years

4%

3%

3%

2%

4% +/-1%

+2%#

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

75%

76%

75%

76%

78% +/-3%

+2%

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

13%#

17%

16%

14%

16% +/-2%

+2%

HK people have a responsibility to instigate economic development in China

82%

83%

82%

81%

81% +/-2%

--

HK people have no responsibility to instigate economic development in China

11%

11%

12%

11%

14% +/-2%

+3%#

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

43%

45%

44%

42%

39% +/-3%

-3%

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

24%

27%

26%

23%

29% +/-3%

+6%#

China should emphasize more on economic development

46%

47%

45%

46%

46% +/-3%

--

China should emphasize more on democratic development

26%

28%

29%

27%

31% +/-3%

+4%#

* Errors 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.
# 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.


This year's survey findings revealed that 56% of the respondents believed that the Beijing students did the right thing in 1989, while 19% believed that they did the wrong thing. Meanwhile, with regard to the way the Chinese Government handled the matter at that time, 13% regarded it as correct and 69% regarded it as wrong.

The findings also showed that 61% of the respondents supported a reversion of the official stand on the incident while 22% did not. Regarding the human right condition in China, 78% of the respondents believed that China's human right condition has been improved since 1989, and 63% anticipated that China's human right condition will be improved after 3 years.

Moreover, 78% 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, 39% of the respondents believed Hong Kong people should put more effort on instigating economic development in China, while 29% of the respondents put more weight on the development of democracy. Furthermore, 46% believed that China should emphasize more on its economic development, while 31% 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

18-25/5/06

16-25/5/07

20-22/5/08^

28/5-2/6/08

19-22/5/2009

Latest change

Sample base

1,022

1,008

1,023

1,007

1,011

--

Overall response rate

62.0%

61.1%

67.1%

67.2%

68.3%

--

Finding for each question/Sampling error

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding and error*

--

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

44.8

46.9

46.4

--

48.0 +/-1.4

+1.6#

The Alliance should be disbanded

21%

21%

--

23%

17% +/-2%

-6%#

The Alliance should not be disbanded

51%

49%

--

46%

60% +/-3%

+14%#

* Errors 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 +/-1.4, 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.
^ 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.
# 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.


Regarding the Alliance, 17% of the respondents said the Alliance should be disbanded, 60% said no. The latest popularity rating of the Alliance was 48.0 marks.

Commentary

Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme observed, "This is the 17th anniversary survey on the June Fourth Incident conducted by POP, marking the 20th anniversary of June Fourth. Quite a number of significant changes have been registered. According to our latest survey, the percentage of Hong Kong people sympathetic with the Beijing students has reached record high since 1994 the 5th anniversary, and the percentage of people blaming the Central Government is at a 13-year high. The figures are respectively over 55% and almost 70%, representing increases of 6 and 11 percentage points compared to one year ago. Moreover, over 60% support a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth, which is record high since this question was introduced in 1997. Almost 80% consider China's human right condition has improved since 1989, over 60% are optimistic about future development. Although both figures are high, they are considerably lower than last year's figures. As on the apparent contradiction between economic and democratic development, our survey finds that a significant majority of Hong Kong people consider themselves responsible for promoting both economic and democratic development in China, although more opt for economic development. The difference is 81% versus 78% this year, which is very small. If one has to choose one among the two, the ratio becomes 39% versus 29% in favour of economic development. This difference is the smallest one registered in 17 anniversary surveys. Likewise, if one has to choose between economic and democratic development as China's priority, the ratio becomes 46% versus 31% in favour of economic development. This difference is also the smallest one across 17 anniversary surveys. In other words, although Hong Kong people generally recognize China's achievement in its economic development, more and more people would like to see China develops its democracy at the same time. Finally, our survey finds that although the support rating of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China has increased to 48 marks, it has remained under 50 for 10 consecutive anniversary surveys. Nevertheless, 60% disagree to the dissolution of the Alliance, which is record high across all 17 anniversary surveys. It seems that Hong Kong people's feeling towards the Alliance is no less complex than that towards June Fourth."

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 right conditions in China since 1993. This is the 17th anniversary survey in a row. We explained the development of this polling series in our press releases of May 31, 2007 and June 3, 2008. 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 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 Fourth. 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.

Next Release (Tentative)

  • June 2, 2009 (Tuesday) 1pm to 2pm: Top 10 political groups


| Abstract | Latest Figures | Commentary | Supplementary Information: About annual June Fourth surveys |
| Next Release (Tentative) | Detailed Findings (Surveys on June Fourth Incident) |