POP releases survey on Hong Kong people’s ethnic identity

Press Release on June 16, 2020

POP releases survey on Hong Kong people’s ethnic identity

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 survey on Hong Kong people’s ethnic identity released today by POP is the last of its kind before July 1, 2020. Whether it will be continued or not will depend on public support.

Abstract

POP successfully interviewed 1,002 Hong Kong residents by a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers in early June. Latest results using independent rating questions that do not involve choosing one among identities show that whether in terms of strength rating, importance rating or identity index, the identity of “Hongkongers” continues to rank first, followed by “Asians”, “global citizens”, “members of the Chinese race”, “Chinese” and “citizens of the PRC”. All the figures have not registered significant change compared to half a year ago. However, the strength ratings of “members of the Chinese race” and “Chinese” have registered historical lows since 2007 and 1997 respectively, while their importance ratings and identity indexes have registered historical lows since 2008. If we use a dichotomy of “Hongkonger” versus “Chinese” identity and ask people to make a choice among four identities, namely, “Hongkongers”, “Chinese”, “Chinese in Hong Kong” and “Hongkongers in China”, whether in their narrow and broad senses, the proportions of people identifying themselves as “Hongkongers” outnumber those of “Chinese”. These figures also remained comparable to those half a year ago. The effective response rate of the survey is 64.3%. The maximum sampling error of percentages is +/-4% and that of ratings is +/-3.1 at 95% confidence level.

Contact Information

Date of survey : 1-4/6/2020
Survey method : Random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers
Target population : Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above
Sample size[1] : 1,002 (including 503 landline and 499 mobile samples)
Effective response rate[2] : 64.3%
Sampling error[3] : Sampling error of percentages not more than +/-4% and that of ratings not more than +/-3.1 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

Latest figures on Hong Kong people’s ratings on different identities are tabulated as follows:

Date of survey 4-7/6/18 3-6/12/18 17-20/6/19 4-10/12/19 1-4/6/20 Latest change
Sample size[4] 564-682 543-607 607-692 596-677 575-690
Response rate 56.3% 54.6% 58.7% 62.8% 64.3%
Latest findings[5] Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Hongkongers Strength rating 8.54[6] 8.34 8.61[6] 8.51 8.57+/-0.18 +0.07
Importance rating 8.30[6] 8.02[6] 8.46[6] 8.42 8.34+/-0.20 -0.08
Identity index 83.0[6] 80.8 84.6[6] 82.6 83.1+/-1.9 +0.5
Asians Strength rating 8.16[6] 8.07 7.69[6] 7.82 7.83+/-0.21 +0.01
Importance rating 6.99 7.05 6.64[6] 6.79 6.89+/-0.23 +0.11
Identity index 74.1 74.1 70.1[6] 70.9 72.3+/-2.0 +1.4
Global citizens Strength rating 6.61[6] 6.86 6.89 7.06 6.93+/-0.25 -0.13
Importance rating 6.30 6.49 6.53 6.63 6.64+/-0.26
Identity index 63.5[6] 65.6 66.2 66.7 66.6+/-2.3 -0.1
Members of the Chinese race Strength rating 7.10 6.98 6.27[6] 6.46 6.25+/-0.31 -0.21
Importance rating 6.68 6.67 5.96[6] 5.99 5.89+/-0.32 -0.10
Identity index 68.0 67.3 60.2[6] 60.7 59.2+/-3.1 -1.5
Chinese Strength rating 6.89 6.59 5.87[6] 6.12 5.74+/-0.29 -0.38
Importance rating 6.67 6.19[6] 5.54[6] 5.63 5.50+/-0.30 -0.13
Identity index 66.6 62.4[6] 55.2[6] 57.3 54.6+/-3.0 -2.7
Citizens of
the PRC
Strength rating 5.85 5.91 4.82[6] 5.24[6] 4.90+/-0.32 -0.35
Importance rating 5.68 5.68 4.79[6] 4.99 4.77+/-0.32 -0.21
Identity index 56.3 57.1 46.2[6] 49.6 46.8+/-3.1 -2.8

[4]     Before March 2020, weighted count was used to report subsample size. Starting from March 2020, raw count was used instead.

[5]     “Identity index” is calculated for each respondent by taking the geometric mean of the strength and importance ratings and then multiplied by 10. If either the strength or importance rating of a respondent is missing, it is substituted by the sample mean.

[6]     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.

Results of independent rating questions that do not involve choosing one among identities show that whether in terms of strength rating, importance rating or identity index, the identity of “Hongkongers” continues to rank first, followed by “Asians”, “global citizens”, “members of the Chinese race”, “Chinese” and “citizens of the PRC”. The strength ratings are 8.57, 7.83, 6.93, 6.25, 5.74 and 4.90 respectively, while the importance ratings are 8.34, 6.89, 6.64, 5.89, 5.50 and 4.77 respectively. Taking the geometric mean of the strength and importance ratings of each respondent and then multiply it by 10, we have an “identity index” between 0 and 100, with 0 meaning no feeling and 100 meaning extremely strong feeling. The latest figures are 83.1, 72.3, 66.6, 59.2, 54.6 and 46.8 respectively. All the figures mentioned above have not registered significant change compared to half a year ago. However, the strength ratings of “members of the Chinese race” and “Chinese” have registered historical lows since 2007 and 1997 respectively, while their importance ratings and identity indexes have registered historical lows since 2008.

As for the results from the survey mode used for long on Hong Kong people’s sense of ethnic identity, latest figures are tabulated as follows:

Date of survey 4-7/6/18 3-6/12/18 17-20/6/19 4-10/12/19 1-4/6/20 Latest change
Sample size[7] 614 585 643 577 602
Response rate 56.3% 54.6% 58.7% 62.8% 64.3%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Identified as “Hongkongers” 41% 40% 53%[8] 55% 50+/-4% -5%
Identified as “Chinese” 18%[8] 15% 11%[8] 11% 13+/-3% +2%
Identified with a mixed identity of “Hongkongers” and “Chinese” 39%[8] 43% 36%[8] 32% 36+/-4% +4%
Identified as “Hongkongers”
in broad sense
67% 66% 76%[8] 78% 75+/-4% -2%
Identified as “Chinese”
in broad sense
30% 32% 23%[8] 21% 24+/-3% +3%

[7]     Before March 2020, weighted count was used to report subsample size. Starting from March 2020, raw count was used instead.

[8]     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.

If we use a dichotomy of “Hongkonger” versus “Chinese” identity and ask people to make a choice among four identities, namely, “Hongkongers”, “Chinese”, “Chinese in Hong Kong” and “Hongkongers in China”, 50% identified themselves as “Hongkongers”, 13% as “Chinese”, 11% as “Chinese in Hong Kong” and 25% as “Hongkongers in China”. In other words, 75% identified themselves as “Hongkongers” in a broad sense (i.e. either as “Hongkongers” or “Hongkongers in China”), 24% identified themselves as “Chinese” in a broad sense (i.e. either as “Chinese” or “Chinese in Hong Kong”), while 36% chose a mixed identity of “Hongkongers” and “Chinese” (i.e. either as “Chinese in Hong Kong” or “Hongkongers in China”). Whether in their narrow and broad senses, the proportions of people identifying themselves as “Hongkongers” outnumber those of “Chinese”. The figures mentioned above also remained comparable to those half a year ago.

Opinion Daily

In 2007, POP started collaborating with Wisers Information Limited whereby Wisers supplies to POP a record of significant events of that day according to the research method designed by POP. These daily entries would then become “Opinion Daily” after they are verified by POP.

For the polling items covered in this press release, the previous survey was conducted from 4 to 10 December, 2019 while this survey was conducted from 1 to 4 June, 2020. 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.

4/6/20 June 4 vigils are held in various districts.
3/6/20 Vice-Premier of the State Council Han Zheng meets Carrie Lam.
29/5/20 Donald Trump announces new measures toward China and Hong Kong and says China has replaced one country, two systems with one country, one system.
28/5/20 National People’s Congress passes resolution to enact national security law in Hong Kong.
27/5/20 Over 360 people are arrested in protests against the National Anthem Bill and the national security law.
24/5/20 People rally against the national security law on Hong Kong Island. Over 180 people are arrested.
22/5/20 The Central Government will set up national security agencies in Hong Kong after implementation of national security law.
21/5/20 National People’s Congress will deliberate on national security law in Hong Kong.
20/5/20 Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen is sworn into office.
18/5/20 Starry Lee Wai-king is elected the chairperson of the House Committee of the Legislative Council.
16/5/20 Two managers of liberal studies resign from the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.
15/5/20 Independent Police Complaints Council releases a report saying there is no evidence of casualties in the Prince Edward MTR incident on August 31.
8/5/20 Eleven democrats get thrown out after conflicts occur in a meeting of the House Committee of the Legislative Council.
28/4/20 The government announces that cross-boundary students and certain business travelers can be exempted from quarantine.
21/4/20 The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office issues multiple statements to criticize Dennis Kwok.
18/4/20 15 pan-democrats including Martin Lee and Jimmy Lai are arrested.
15/4/20 Director of the Liaison Office Luo Huining says Hong Kong needs to safeguard national security.
14/4/20 Carrie Lam claims the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and the Liaison Office did not interfere in Hong Kong affairs.
13/4/20 The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and the Liaison Office criticize Legislative Councillor Dennis Kwok.
27/3/20 The government announces the ban on gathering with more than 4 people.
23/3/20 The government announces ban on non-residents arrivals at the airport from entering Hong Kong.
17/3/20 The government announces people entering Hong Kong from any foreign country will be put in a 14-day quarantine.
8/3/20 Police arrests during midnight 17 people who are suspected of making explosives.
4/3/20 The first batch of government-chartered flights bring back Hong Kong people in Hubei.
29/2/20 US Department of State and some councillors express concern over the arrest of Jimmy Lai, Lee Cheuk-yan and Yeung Sum.
28/2/20 Police arrests Jimmy Lai, Lee Cheuk-yan and Yeung Sum.
19/2/20 The first batch of Hong Kong people on the cruise Diamond Princess return to Hong Kong by a charter flight.
13/2/20 Xia Baolong is appointed the Director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.
5/2/20 The government announces people entering Hong Kong from mainland China will be put in a 14-day quarantine.
3/2/20 The government announces further closure of borders.
1/2/20 Hospital Authority Employees Alliance members vote to go on strike.
28/1/20 The government announces partial border closure.
27/1/20 The government imposes immigration restrictions on Hubei residents and people who visited Hubei.
22/1/20 Two “highly suspected” Wuhan pneumonia cases are found in Hong Kong.
19/1/20 Rally at Central turns into a conflict between protestors and the police.
11/1/20 Tsai Ing-wen wins Taiwan’s presidential election.
4/1/20 Luo Huining is appointed the Director of the Liaison Office.
1/1/20 The Civil Human Rights Front organizes the New Year Rally.
31/12/19 Protesting activities occur in multiple districts on New Year’s Eve.
28/12/19 Number of tours for tourists from mainland China has plunged.
25/12/19 Protesting activities occur in multiple districts during Christmas.
16/12/19 Carrie Lam pays a duty visit to Beijing.
11/12/19 All members of the Independent Police Complaints Council International Expert Panel quit.
8/12/19 The Civil Human Rights Front announces that around eight hundred thousand people participated in the International Human Rights Day protest.

Data Analysis

Latest results using independent rating questions that do not involve choosing one among identities show that whether in terms of strength rating, importance rating or identity index, the identity of “Hongkongers” continues to rank first, followed by “Asians”, “global citizens”, “members of the Chinese race”, “Chinese” and “citizens of the PRC”. All the figures have not registered significant change compared to half a year ago. However, the strength ratings of “members of the Chinese race” and “Chinese” have registered historical lows since 2007 and 1997 respectively, while their importance ratings and identity indexes have registered historical lows since 2008.

If we use a dichotomy of “Hongkonger” versus “Chinese” identity and ask people to make a choice among four identities, namely, “Hongkongers”, “Chinese”, “Chinese in Hong Kong” and “Hongkongers in China”, whether in their narrow and broad senses, the proportions of people identifying themselves as “Hongkongers” outnumber those of “Chinese”. These figures also remained comparable to those half a year ago.

Detailed Findings

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