The Chinese University of Hong Kong

09/06/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/06/2019 02:16

Survey Findings on Views on Social Conflict in Hong Kong Released by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK

A recent survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, found that nearly half of the respondents agreed that when the protestors fight for their demands, both protestors and the government should make concessions to seek common ground. About 68.3% of them anticipated that clashes during protests in the coming month would remain the same or even be more serious.

The telephone survey took place from 21 to 27 August 2019[1], and 716 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed. The survey results showed that nearly half (48.7%) of the respondents agreed that when the protestors fight for their demands, both protestors and the government should make concessions to seek common ground. However, 38.8% of them thought the opposite and believed that the protestors should stick to their demands and not compromise.

The survey also found that 68.3% of the respondents expected that clashes during protests in the coming month would be either about the same (35.2%) or more serious (33.1%). Only 15.9% predicted that they would be less serious.

The survey results showed that 58.8% of the respondents agreed that if people appealed to the government, they had to stick to peaceful, rational and non-violent means to fight for their demands, a proportion that was 14.6 percentage points lower when compared with a similar survey conducted in July 2017 when the Chief Executive Carrie Lam assumed her office. Those who disagreed made up 8.2%, which was 2.4 percentage points higher than that of the 2017 survey. Almost one third (31.1%) of the respondents answered 'in-between', a proportion that was also 14.0 percentage points higher than that of the 2017 survey. The statistical analysis (Chi-square) showed that the differences between the two surveys were statistically significant. When the respondents were asked if they agreed that 'nowadays in Hong Kong, taking radical actions is the only way of making the government respond to people's demands', 35.1% said no, 26.9 answered yes, and 36.1% said 'in-between'.

Furthermore, the respondents were also asked what kinds of device were acceptable for the protesters to use in fighting the police during radical confrontations. A comparatively larger portion (39.8%) replied 'laser pointers'. The device that the respondents mentioned the least acceptable was 'gasoline bomb' (2.5%). However, 35.6% answered that no violent means was acceptable.

Likewise, the device that a relatively larger number (41.9%) of respondents regarded as acceptable for the police to use against some of the more radical protests was 'pepper spray'. The device that the fewest number of respondents accepted was 'rubber bullets' (8.5%). Again, 25.3% claimed that no violent means was acceptable in that situation.

The anti-extradition bill protests have lasted for several months. Slightly more than half (54.2%) of the respondents claimed that those protest marches had brought inconvenience to their daily life, and 44.7% answered the opposite. Of the group of respondents who have been inconvenienced, 41.2% said that the inconvenience the protests brought was acceptable, 26.5% replied that it was unacceptable but understandable, and 30.4% said it was both unacceptable and not understandable.

Lastly, the respondents were also asked whether universal suffrage, economic prosperity or social stability was the most important. Whereas 70.5% of the respondents thought that it was universal suffrage, 67.7% answered social stability, and 61.3% believed that it should be economic prosperity, showing that most respondents considered that all these conditions were important, though at only slightly different degrees (the respondents were allowed to choose more than one answer on what was most and what was also important, so the total percentage exceeds 100%).

The response rate of this survey is 37.4%. The sampling error of a sample size of 716 cases is + or -3.66 percentage points at a confidence level of 95%.

[1] The survey was completed at the end of August before the Chief Executive had announced the withdrawal of the fugitive amendment bill.