Leung Chun-ying

Dean faces blame for half-done survey

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 February, 2012, 12:00am

The dean of Baptist University's School of Communication has been singled out to blame for the premature release of opinion poll results on the Hong Kong chief executive election, a source close to the university's investigation panel said late last night.

The five-person panel of four university academics and one alumnus will accompany the vice chancellor to announce their findings to the University Council this morning.

The closed-door investigation has also been controversial, with employees and students saying it was 'unprofessional'.

The university administration will decide the dean's future.

The controversy erupted last month when the dean, Professor Zhao Xinshu, released data of a poll showing Henry Tang Ying-yen closing the gap in public support with front runner Leung Chun-ying.

When the data was released to the media - showing Leung leading by only 6.5 percentage points, down from 12.9 in December - only 836 people had been surveyed, but the public was not told the poll was continuing. The final data incorporating all 1,005 people showed a wider support gap of 8.9 percentage points.

The dean denied any political agenda, saying he only wanted to release the data prior to Taiwan's elections to ensure more media coverage. But statisticians and now the panel have said it was wrong to release premature data regardless.

The investigative panel's report comes early, after only a week of conducting interviews with those close to the case, instead of a month as the panel head anticipated. In a Cable TV interview, a journalism professor at the university, To Yiu-Ming, questioned the speed of the investigation.

Last week some 760 students and alumni critical of the panel published a petition in newspapers demanding a fair and open investigation.