Survey results do not fully reflect sentiments
As a former resident of Hong Kong and a frequent visitor I was interested in the survey of the territory's people's feelings over the change in sovereignty next year and your analysis of the results (South China Morning Post, October 21).
I feel that to attribute the results of your survey to people's finances alone is narrow minded.
I happen to believe people in Hong Kong are able to determine the relative importance of a high stock price and personal freedom.
Since Hong Kong's financial situation and outlook is not much different than in August when your survey showed only 31.5 per cent of Hong Kong people were happy about the handover, I feel there must be a more significant reason why 56 per cent of people suddenly feel happy about 1997.
I believe the surge in the number of people who say they feel happy about the change in sovereignty is a direct result of Vice-Premier Qian Qichen's disheartening remarks over the future of freedom of speech in Hong Kong.
Given that these remarks were made by an official of Mr Qian's rank so close to June 30, 1997, and that they so obviously contradict the promise of freedom of speech for Hong Kong people, many in the territory must now believe the freedoms they have been promised will not exist after the handover.
So it is no surprise that a majority of those surveyed answer that they are 'happy' over the change in sovereignty to an unsolicited phone call following Mr Qian's remarks.
After all, would anyone in Beijing taking a phone call at home from a stranger say they condemn the Tiananmen Square 'crackdown'? Who knows who is actually on the phone? Could those who participated in the South China Morning Post survey really be sure that someone was not collecting information to be used against them after 1997? Perhaps Mr Qian would feel not being 'happy' about the handover is a subversive act? PAUL TODD Taipei, Taiwan