• Fri
  • Apr 18, 2014
  • Updated: 7:06pm
NewsHong Kong

Hongkongers feel less 'Chinese', more 'Hong Kong' as tensions with Beijing rise

Poll finds locals lukewarm on identifying with mainland amid growing sense of local pride

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 June, 2013, 10:06am

Hongkongers' sense of Chinese identity has fallen to a 14-year low, a poll revealed yesterday.

The survey, carried out under the University of Hong Kong's Popular Opinion Programme, also found that nearly four in 10 respondents described themselves distinctly as "Hongkongers", a rise of 11 percentage points from last December, and showed a cooling of sentiment towards the mainland in recent months.

The twice-yearly poll asked 1,055 Hongkongers to rate how strongly they associated themselves with a range of identities - including Hongkongers, Chinese, Asians and "global citizens" - on a scale of 1 to 10.

Respondents' average connection with the Hongkonger identity was the highest, at 8.13 points, despite being 0.3 points lower than six months ago. The Chinese identity scored an average of 6.80 points - 0.67 points lower than in December and just a whisker above June 1999's record low.

The 1999 survey was completed amid an intense debate over the city's judicial independence, triggered by the local government's decision to seek Beijing's interpretation of the Basic Law over right of abode matters.

In the latest survey, respondents were also asked to choose which of four identities they most preferred - Hongkonger, Chinese, Chinese Hongkonger or Hong Kong Chinese.

Hongkonger was the preferred designation for 38 per cent of respondents, almost double the score of the Chinese designation, which 23 per cent of respondents opted for - a 2 percentage-point rise since the last poll but within the margin of error. Chinese Hongkonger or Hong Kong Chinese was chosen by 36 per cent, 13 percentage points down from December.

Click here for the interactive infographic

The findings have underlined tensions between Hong Kong and the mainland in recent months, including nativists' criticisms that prompted organisers of the annual candlelight vigil commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown to drop the slogan "Love the country, love the people" last month.

After the last poll, Hao Tiechuan, director general of publicity, cultural and sports affairs at the central government's liaison office, said the questions were "illogical" and "unscientific".

But Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, head of the university's public opinion programme, said: "His comments were merely from a political point of view."




This article is now closed to comments

What do you expect?? The mentality and the behavior of most mainlanders are like Hongkongers in the 60s. More than half a century behind
If you have a yellow face, speak Cantonese and have HK passport, you are Chinese.
You don't have a yellow face? You don't speak Cantonese? You don't have HK passport or ID? Your ancestors aren't from the land that is called China? Ask Brits, even they will call you Chinese. Don't be an **** and pretend to be something else. And what is Asian? Asia has billions of people. Are you same as Indian? Arab? Persian?
Professor Chung may have the surveys intended for identify oneself from political point of view. If the survey was conducted without stating so, some may actually more identify oneself socially. For the latter group I won’t be surprised a Cantonese, a Shanghainese or any local native in their province (even outside of the province) would indentify themselves socially as Cantonese and Shanghainess or any province they are a native of. Correct me if I am wrong, Professor Chung.
Alarmist? Check the info graphics. It looks like the proportions of those who called themselves HK Citizens and Chinese Citizens are about the same in 1997 and in 2013. These figures should not fluctuate so widely either - people's feelings towards their nationality do not change year by year. Sample problems?
I was born on British Soil. My birth certificate was issued by the British Administration. I am a HKer. I am Asian.
After seeing how the mainlanders behave and do, you will not want to admit to be a Chinese.
hear hear
Well! I live nearby Mongkok and if somebody asks me whether I feel more Hongkonger or Mongkoker, I would reply, Mongkoker.
Well! I live nearby Mongkok and if somebody asks me whether I feel more Hongkonger or Mongkoker, I would reply, Mongkoker.



SCMP.com Account