POP releases June Fourth anniversary survey

 Press Release on June 2, 2020

POP releases June Fourth anniversary survey

Special Announcements

  1. The predecessor of Hong Kong Public Opinion Program (HKPOP) was The Public Opinion Programme at The University of Hong Kong (HKUPOP). “POP” in this release can refer to HKPOP or its predecessor HKUPOP.
  2. The June Fourth anniversary survey conducted by POP this year may be the last of its series, whether it will be continued next year or not will depend on public support.

Abstract

POP successfully interviewed 1,001 Hong Kong residents by random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers in mid-May. Our survey shows that Hong Kong people’s mainstream opinion still holds that the Chinese Government was wrong in 1989, people still support the Beijing students and a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth. The percentages of those who consider the human rights condition in China worse than that in 1989 and those who think the condition will worsen in the next three years have increased significantly compared to a year ago, and have again registered record highs since this survey began in 1993. More Hong Kong people continue to think that they have a responsibility to promote democratic development in China, while their views are split in half-half on economic development. The number of people who thought Hong Kong people had responsibilities for developing both plunged, while those who thought otherwise surged, setting new records for the two questions since they were first asked in 1993 and 1996 respectively. When comparing democratic and economic development, more thought Hong Kong people should put more effort on instigating democratic development in China than on economic development. They also believed that China should emphasize democratic development more. Regarding the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, 24% of the respondents said it should be disbanded, 43% said no. Its latest popularity rating stands at 47.5 marks. The effective response rate of the survey is 55.6%. The maximum sampling error of percentages is +/-3% and that of ratings is +/-2.3 at 95% confidence level.

Contact Information

Date of survey : 19-21/5/2020
Survey method : Random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers
Target population : Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above
Sample size[1] : 1,001 (including 500 landline and 501 mobile samples)
Effective response rate[2] : 55.6%
Sampling error[3] : Sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3% and that of ratings not more than +/-2.3 at 95% conf. level
Weighting method : Rim-weighted according to figures provided by the Census and Statistics Department. The gender-age distribution of the Hong Kong population came from “Mid-year population for 2019”, while the educational attainment (highest level attended) distribution and economic activity status distribution came from “Women and Men in Hong Kong – Key Statistics (2019 Edition)”.

[1]     This figure is the total sample size of the survey. Some questions may only involve a subsample, the size of which can be found in the tables below.

[2]     Before September 2017, “overall response rate” was used to report surveys’ contact information. Starting from September 2017, “effective response rate” was used. In July 2018, POP further revised the calculation of effective response rate. Thus, the response rates before and after the change cannot be directly compared.

[3]     All error figures in this release are calculated at 95% confidence level. “95% confidence level” means that if we were to repeat a certain survey 100 times with different random samples, we would expect 95 times having the population parameter within the respective error margins calculated. Because of sampling errors, when quoting percentages, journalists should refrain from reporting decimal places, whereas one decimal place can be used when quoting rating figures.

Latest Figures

Figures of the latest June Fourth anniversary survey are summarized as follows:

Date of survey 16-19/5/16 22-25/5/17 21-25/5/18 20-23/5/19 19-21/5/20 Latest change
Sample size 1,001 1,003 1,009 1,013 1,001
Response rate 67.6% 69.7% 55.9% 61.9% 55.6%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Proportion of respondents believing:            
The Beijing students did the right thing 47% 46% 50%[4] 52% 52+/-3%
The Beijing students did the wrong thing 17% 22%[4] 17%[4] 21% 20+/-3% -1%
The Chinese Government did the right thing 11%[4] 12% 11% 13% 15+/-2% +2%
The Chinese Government did the wrong thing 66% 69% 68% 68% 66+/-3% -1%
There should be a reversion of the official stand on the incident 59%[4] 55%[4] 54% 59% 59+/-3% +1%
There should not be a reversion of the official stand on the incident 20%[4] 27%[4] 24% 23% 23+/-3%
China’s human rights condition has improved since 1989 46%[4] 53%[4] 47%[4] 44% 38+/-3% -6%[4]
China’s human rights condition has worsened since 1989 24%[4] 23% 28%[4] 33%[4] 43+/-3% +10%[4]
China’s human rights condition would improve after 3 years 32%[4] 38%[4] 34%[4] 32% 29+/-3% -3%
China’s human rights condition would worsen after 3 years 25%[4] 23% 31%[4] 37%[4] 44+/-3% +7%[4]
HK people have a responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China 62%[4] 58%[4] 56% 62%[4] 51+/-3% -10%[4]
HK people have no responsibility to instigate the development of democracy in China 27% 30% 31% 28% 36+/-3% +8%[4]
HK people have a responsibility to instigate economic development in China 57%[4] 58% 59% 59% 45+/-3% -14%[4]
HK people have no responsibility to instigate economic development in China 34%[4] 36% 33% 35% 45+/-3% +10%[4]
HK people should put more effort on instigating economic than democratic development in China 29% 32% 35% 31%[4] 28+/-3% -3%
HK people should put more effort on instigating democratic than economic development in China 36% 38% 36% 44%[4] 44+/-3%
China should emphasize economic development more 29% 32% 32% 31% 29+/-3% -2%
China should emphasize democratic development more 44% 46% 45% 50%[4] 49+/-3% -1%

[4]     The difference between the figure and the result from the previous survey has gone beyond the sampling error at 95% confidence level, meaning that the change is statistically significant prima facie. However, whether the difference is statistically significant is not the same as whether they are practically useful or meaningful, and different weighting methods could have been applied in different surveys.

This year’s survey findings revealed that 52% of the respondents believed that the Beijing students did the right thing in 1989, while 20% 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 66% regarded it as wrong. The findings also showed that 59% of the respondents supported a reversion of the official stand on the incident while 23% did not. All these figures have not changed much from a year ago.

Regarding the human rights condition in China, 43% of the respondents believed that China’s human rights condition has worsened since 1989, and 44% anticipated that China’s human rights condition will further worsen after 3 years, both having increased significantly compared to a year ago, whereas 38% and 29% respectively thought it has improved or will improve. The figures of both questions are at their worst since records began in 1993.

Moreover, 51% of the respondents thought that Hong Kong people had a responsibility to instigate democratic development in China, whereas 36% thought otherwise, while people who thought Hong Kong people did / did not have a responsibility to instigate economic development in China both stand at 45%. The number of people who thought Hong Kong people had responsibilities for developing both plunged, while the number of people who thought otherwise surged, setting new records since the question on democratic development was first asked in 1993 and that on economic development started in 1996.

When comparing democratic and economic development, 28% of the respondents believed Hong Kong people should put more effort on instigating economic development in China, while 44% of the respondents put more weight on the development of democracy. Meanwhile, 29% believed that China should emphasize economic development more, while 49% inclined toward democratic development. The figures above have not changed much from a year ago.

Latest figures regarding the HK Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China (“the Alliance”) are as follows:

Date of survey 16-19/5/16 22-25/5/17 21-25/5/18 20-23/5/19 19-21/5/20 Latest change
Sample size 1,001 1,003 1,009 1,013 1,001
Response rate 67.6% 69.7% 55.9% 61.9% 55.6%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Popularity rating of the Alliance 50.1[5] 46.9[5] 47.0 50.3[5] 47.5+/-2.3 -2.7
The Alliance should be disbanded 21%[5] 25%[5] 21%[5] 20% 24+/-3% +4%
The Alliance should not be disbanded 51%[5] 46%[5] 45% 53%[5] 43+/-3% -10%[5]

[5]     The difference between the figure and the result from the previous survey has gone beyond the sampling error at 95% confidence level, meaning that the change is statistically significant prima facie. However, whether the difference is statistically significant is not the same as whether they are practically useful or meaningful, and different weighting methods could have been applied in different surveys.

Regarding the Alliance, 24% of the respondents said it should be disbanded, 43% said no. Its latest popularity rating stands at 47.5 marks.

Data Analysis

This is the 28th anniversary survey on the June Fourth Incident conducted by POP, marking its 31st anniversary. From a broad perspective, Hong Kong people’s mainstream opinion still holds that the Chinese Government was wrong in 1989, people still support the Beijing students and a reversion of the official stand on June Fourth.

The percentages of those who consider the human rights condition in China worse than that in 1989 and those who think the condition will worsen in the next three years have increased significantly compared to a year ago, and have again registered record highs since this survey began in 1993.

More Hong Kong people continue to think that they have a responsibility to promote democratic development in China, while their views are split in half-half on economic development. The number of people who thought Hong Kong people had responsibilities for developing both plunged, while those who thought otherwise surged, setting new records for the two questions since they were first asked in 1993 and 1996 respectively.

When comparing democratic and economic development, more thought Hong Kong people should put more effort on instigating democratic development in China than on economic development. They also believed that China should emphasize democratic development more.

Regarding the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, 24% of the respondents said it should be disbanded, 43% said no. Its latest popularity rating stands at 47.5 marks.

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