Occupy Central

70pc frown on Occupy Central plan: DAB poll

Poll by Beijing-loyal party reveals worries about the effects of civil disobedience

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 April, 2013, 4:46am

Seven out of every 10 people are not supportive of a planned blockade of Central roads to demand genuine universal suffrage, a Beijing-loyalist party has found in a poll.

Slightly smaller proportions of poll respondents feared the Occupy Central movement would result in huge economic losses to the city or spark fierce clashes, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said yesterday.

Only 21.9 per cent backed the plan, it found.

"If we want something to be done in the interest of the public, we should insist on a sort of peaceful negotiation between Hong Kong and the central government," Young DAB chairman Holden Chow Ho-ding said.

"We would urge … the organiser of Occupy Central to consider the consequences and also the opinions expressed by the majority of Hong Kong people, and perhaps consider abandoning the proposal."

Party vice-chairman Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan also urged the campaign proponents to think twice.

The idea of Occupy Central was mooted by associate law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting in January to pressure Beijing to keep its pledge of allowing universal suffrage in Hong Kong, and to unify the pro-democracy camp and create a political culture that engaged the public.

The DAB found in the poll that young people, who numbered 185 in the survey, appeared less worried about the impact of the action. Some 1,097 people were polled between March 26 and 30.

Overall, 68.6 per cent of those surveyed feared potential economic losses, a sentiment shared by 50.8 per cent of those aged 18 to 39.

The possibility of fierce clashes was a concern for 65.3 per cent of all interviewees, compared with 49.7 per cent of young people who felt the same. Some 32.5 per cent of the respondents believed it would not hit the city's international image, as opposed to 50.3 per cent of the young.

Defending the credibility of the findings, Chow said the poll was scientifically based although it did not take into account possible sample biases. Some 68.8 per cent were aged 50 or older.

Tai said the poll questions were framed to assess the attitudes of Hongkongers on certain aspects of the movement, such as the act of occupation.

It did not reflect their views on world standards for universal and equal suffrage or the spirit of civil disobedience, he said. Even if many disagreed with the movement on materialistic or practical grounds, "democratic rights are the fundamental rights of Hong Kong people. These rights cannot be sacrificed on materialistic or practical concerns," he said.