Hong Kong localism and independence

Dissatisfaction at Hong Kong’s political situation hits record high, survey finds

69 per cent of people are disgruntled following oath-taking saga, with rate climbing to 86 per cent among the most educated

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 9:11pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 January, 2017, 9:20am

People are more disgruntled with the city’s political situation than ever, according to a University of Hong Kong survey, with the young and more educated most unhappy.

In the latest study by the university’s public opinion programme between December 19 and December 22, the overall dissatisfaction rate hit 69 per cent, up one point from June, and the highest since the survey was first conducted in 1992. Only one in 10 people said they were satisfied.

The dissatisfaction rating hit 80 per cent among respondents aged 18 to 29, compared with 65 per cent for those aged 50 or above.

Up to 86 per cent of those who had reached tertiary education or above were unhappy with political developments, dropping to 49 per cent for people at primary level or below.

The findings followed the political storm surrounding Beijing’s decision to effectively disqualify two pro-independence lawmakers, Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang, for their improper oath-taking, which some critics regarded as a violation of the “one country, two systems” principle.

The government has launched a legal bid to disqualify four more pro-democracy lawmakers: Nathan Law Kwun-chung, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu Chung-yim.

The survey found that Hongkongers’ net satisfaction – the difference between the satisfaction rate and dissatisfaction rate – on livelihood, economic and political conditions all continued to be negative.

They were most unhappy with the political atmosphere as the survey recorded a minus 59 per cent net satisfaction rate.

It is a very natural finding as the current political structure has failed to resolve social conflicts
Wu Chi-wai, Democratic Party chairman

Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said people’s sense of helplessness had been fuelled by the unseating of lawmakers popularly returned by the public.

“It is a very natural finding as the current political structure has failed to resolve social conflicts and has also highlighted the importance of improving the system. Simply changing the leader is not enough,” he said, referring to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s abrupt announcement last month that he would not seek a second term for family reasons.

The net satisfaction rate with livelihood conditions and economic conditions stood at minus 25 per cent and minus five per cent respectively.

People were most concerned about livelihood issues, followed by economic and political issues, which the pollsters said had been “the pattern for many years”.

The study, which polled 1,009 Hongkongers by random telephone survey, had a response rate of 71 per cent and a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.