POP releases survey on Hong Kong people’s ethnic identity

Press Release on December 22, 2020

POP releases survey on Hong Kong people’s ethnic identity

Special Announcement

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.

Abstract

POP successfully interviewed 1,009 Hong Kong residents by a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers in early December. 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”. Compared with half a year ago, only figures related to “Hongkongers” have significantly decreased, while other figures have not registered significant change. Meanwhile, the importance rating of “Chinese” has registered historical low since the question was first asked in 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”. However, the proportions of people identifying themselves as “Hongkongers” in their narrow and broad senses have both decreased significantly compared with half a year ago, whereas the percentage of people who identified themselves as “Chinese” in a broad sense has increased significantly since half a year ago. The effective response rate of the survey is 70.0%. The maximum sampling error of percentages is +/-4% and that of ratings is +/-3.2 at 95% confidence level.

Contact Information

Date of survey : 7-10/12/2020
Survey method : Random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers
Target population : Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above
Sample size[1] : 1,009 (including 506 landline and 503 mobile samples)
Effective response rate : 70.0%
Sampling error[2] : Sampling error of percentages not more than +/-4% and that of ratings not more than +/-3.2 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]     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 3-6/12/18 17-20/6/19 4-10/12/19 1-4/6/20 7-10/12/20 Latest change
Sample size[3] 543-607 607-692 596-677 575-690 529-648
Response rate 54.6% 58.7% 62.8% 64.3% 70.0%
Latest findings[4] Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Hongkongers Strength rating 8.34 8.61[5] 8.51 8.57 8.26+/-0.20 -0.31[5]
Importance rating 8.02[5] 8.46[5] 8.42 8.34 7.89+/-0.21 -0.45[5]
Identity index 80.8 84.6[5] 82.6 83.1 79.5+/-1.9 -3.6[5]
Asians Strength rating 8.07 7.69[5] 7.82 7.83 7.84+/-0.21 +0.01
Importance rating 7.05 6.64[5] 6.79 6.89 6.65+/-0.24 -0.25
Identity index 74.1 70.1[5] 70.9 72.3 70.1+/-2.2 -2.1
Global citizens Strength rating 6.86 6.89 7.06 6.93 6.97+/-0.26 +0.03
Importance rating 6.49 6.53 6.63 6.64 6.53+/-0.26 -0.11
Identity index 65.6 66.2 66.7 66.6 66.5+/-2.1 -0.1
Members of the Chinese race Strength rating 6.98 6.27[5] 6.46 6.25 6.44+/-0.32 +0.19
Importance rating 6.67 5.96[5] 5.99 5.89 6.04+/-0.34 +0.16
Identity index 67.3 60.2[5] 60.7 59.2 60.7+/-3.2 +1.5
Chinese Strength rating 6.59 5.87[5] 6.12 5.74 5.93+/-0.29 +0.19
Importance rating 6.19[5] 5.54[5] 5.63 5.50 5.40+/-0.30 -0.09
Identity index 62.4[5] 55.2[5] 57.3 54.6 54.9+/-3.0 +0.3
Citizens of
the PRC
Strength rating 5.91 4.82[5] 5.24[5] 4.90 5.16+/-0.32 +0.26
Importance rating 5.68 4.79[5] 4.99 4.77 4.99+/-0.33 +0.21
Identity index 57.1 46.2[5] 49.6 46.8 49.3+/-3.2 +2.6

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

[4]     “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.

[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.

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 8.26, 7.84, 6.97, 6.44, 5.93 and 5.16 respectively, while the importance ratings are 7.89, 6.65, 6.53, 6.04, 5.40 and 4.99 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 79.5, 70.1, 66.5, 60.7, 54.9 and 49.3 respectively. Compared with half a year ago, only figures related to “Hongkongers” have significantly decreased, while other figures have not registered significant change. Meanwhile, the importance rating of “Chinese” has registered historical low since the question was first asked in 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 3-6/12/18 17-20/6/19 4-10/12/19 1-4/6/20 7-10/12/20 Latest change
Sample size[6] 585 643 577 602 639
Response rate 54.6% 58.7% 62.8% 64.3% 70.0%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Identified as “Hongkongers” 40% 53%[7] 55% 50% 44+/-4% -6%[7]
Identified as “Chinese” 15% 11%[7] 11% 13% 15+/-3% +3%
Identified with a mixed identity of “Hongkongers” and “Chinese” 43% 36%[7] 32% 36% 38+/-4% +2%
Identified as “Hongkongers”
in broad sense
66% 76%[7] 78% 75% 69+/-4% -7%[7]
Identified as “Chinese”
in broad sense
32% 23%[7] 21% 24% 29+/-4% +5%[7]

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

[7]     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”, 44% identified themselves as “Hongkongers”, 15% as “Chinese”, 14% as “Chinese in Hong Kong” and 25% as “Hongkongers in China”. In other words, 69% identified themselves as “Hongkongers” in a broad sense (i.e. either as “Hongkongers” or “Hongkongers in China”), 29% identified themselves as “Chinese” in a broad sense (i.e. either as “Chinese” or “Chinese in Hong Kong”), while 38% 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”. However, the proportions of people identifying themselves as “Hongkongers” in their narrow and broad senses have both decreased significantly compared with half a year ago, whereas the percentage of people who identified themselves as “Chinese” in a broad sense has increased significantly since 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 1 to 4 June, 2020 while this survey was conducted from 7 to 10 December, 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.

2/12/20 Former Demosistō member Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow are sentenced to 7 to 13.5 months in prison.
21/11/20 Police arrests 3 people including an online radio host who allegedly violated the national security law by providing financial assistance to secession.
17/11/20 Carrie Lam and Zhang Xiaoming deliver speech at the Basic Law 30th Anniversary Legal Summit.
11/11/20 NPCSC disqualifies 4 democrats in LegCo.
6/11/20 Vice-Premier of the State Council Han Zheng meets Carrie Lam.
29/10/20 The fifth plenary session of the Communist Party of China Central Committee passes the 15th Five-Year Plan.
23/10/20 Xi Jinping attends anniversary event of the Korean War and delivers a speech.
13/10/20 Xi Jinping attends anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone.
30/9/20 Luo Huining, Tung Chee-hwa and principal officials of Hong Kong celebrates the 71st anniversary of the founding of the PRC.
12/9/20 Twelve Hong Kong youngsters have been detained in Shenzhen for over two weeks. Their family members hold a press conference.
27/8/20 China Coast Guard intercepted a speedboat to Taiwan on August 23 and arrested 12 young Hong Kong people.
26/8/20 Police arrests 13 people who were not “people in white” for rioting in the 7.21 incident.
8/8/20 The Hong Kong government issues statement condemning US sanction on 11 Chinese or Hong Kong government officials.
6/8/20 The US expands the “Clean Network” to further limit Chinese technology firms.
1/8/20 The first team from the National Health Commission arrives in Hong Kong.
24/7/20 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a speech on China policy, while China orders the US to close its consulate in Chengdu.
22/7/20 The US orders China to close its consulate in Houston within 72 hours.
15/7/20 US President Donald Trump signs the Hong Kong Autonomy Act.
6/7/20 The implementation rules for the national security law are gazetted by the government.
3/7/20 The Central Government and the SAR Government announce multiple personnel appointments concerning the national security law.
1/7/20 Ten people are arrested for allegedly violating the national security law in the July 1 protest.
30/6/20 The national security law is passed and comes into effect.
26/6/20 The US Senate passes the Hong Kong Autonomy Act.
18/6/20 The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress discusses the national security law.
13/6/20 Coronavirus outbreak occurs in Beijing.
12/6/20 The Central Government criticizes groups for organizing referendum for class boycott.
8/6/20 Zhang Xiaoming delivers speech at a webinar to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Basic Law’s promulgation.

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”. Compared with half a year ago, only figures related to “Hongkongers” have significantly decreased, while other figures have not registered significant change. Meanwhile, the importance rating of “Chinese” has registered historical low since the question was first asked in 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”. However, the proportions of people identifying themselves as “Hongkongers” in their narrow and broad senses have both decreased significantly compared with half a year ago, whereas the percentage of people who identified themselves as “Chinese” in a broad sense has increased significantly since half a year ago.

Detailed Findings

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