Public Opinion

Occupy Central provocations won't help to build a consensus

Occupy Central's first deliberation day is more likely to be staged as a propaganda event rather than an honest exercise in public opinion polling. Photo: May Tse

Taking a leaf from "Occupy Wall Street", academics bent on holding Beijing's feet to the fire are organising an "Occupy Central" movement to pressure the central government to succumb to their demands for "true" democracy. Yet Hong Kong's version of "deliberation days" follows the American model in name only.

Sunday, 9 June, 2013, 2:40am 5 comments

Praise for President Hu Jintao's 'common touch' in visit to hometown

Hu Jintao holds an umbrella for a village official while visiting Yancheng, Jiangsu. Photo: SCMP

Pictures showing the usually stiff and expressionless President Hu Jintao making simple gestures of compassion while visiting his home area last week have won praise among a mainland public increasingly tired of entitled official behaviour.

31 Dec 2012 - 5:37am

Policy unit needs to do more with less

There appears to be nothing wrong with a government trying to improve the way it sells its policies to its citizens. But recent steps taken by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's team have raised many eyebrows.

22 Nov 2012 - 3:18am 1 comment

In China or US, government must hear the people

The era of the smug one-party state avoiding facing the complaining masses is over in China and beyond. Photo: AP

Does China pick better leaders than the US? Well, probably - but that's missing the point. During this period of leadership transition for two of the world's most powerful nations, the London-based Intelligence Squared organised a debate in Hong Kong on the motion, "China picks better leaders than the West".

5 Nov 2012 - 2:32am

Poor gauge of public mood to blame for national education retreat

Students from The Open University of Hong Kong perform a drama on campus on September 25, 2012 during their class strike against national education. Photo: SCMP/ Nora Tam

On October 19, 1812, the French army under Napoleon began its momentous retreat from Moscow, which was to spawn the famous orchestral work by Tchaikovsky.

7 Jun 2013 - 11:50am 1 comment

In the absence of universal suffrage, public consultations play a vital role

The government stalled release of details of the public consultation on national education in schools because of privacy concerns. The eventual release of about 500 submissions to the Post revealed that contrary to official insistence that the subject had widespread support, public opinion was divided.

8 Oct 2012 - 2:32am 1 comment

C.Y. Leung must serve two masters

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying

People believe what they want to believe. In the face of evidence to the contrary, they usually harden their stance.

21 Sep 2012 - 2:40am 1 comment

Voters 'more co-operative' with exit polls, says HKU's Robert Chung

Voters were much more co-operative when it came to talking about this year's election which saw Leung Chun-ying elected Hong Kong Chief Executive. Photo: AFP

Voters were more co-operative with exit pollsters in this month's Legislative Council election than they were in 2008, generating largely accurate results, a leading pollster said.

20 Sep 2012 - 3:32am

The echo chamber that is public opinion

Thousands of university students gesture near a banner reading "Calling from conscience, to resist brainwashing," as they stage a class boycott on the subject "Moral and National Education" during a demonstration at the Chinese University in Hong Kong. Photo: AP

"They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that dislike it, heresy; and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion." So wrote Thomas Hobbes, in Leviathan.

Here's another quote, from Walter Lippmann, the US journalist: "Where all think alike, no one thinks very much."

12 Sep 2012 - 2:12am 12 comments

HK-based journalists from mainland label national education 'brainwashing'

Hong Kong-based journalists drew on their own experience of education on the mainland yesterday to warn that national education lessons will become a form of brainwashing if implemented in the city's schools.

27 Aug 2012 - 9:12pm

Lam says national lessons A must

The government is standing firm on the introduction of national education in primary school classrooms in September, despite a storm of controversy.

Top officials yesterday lined up to back the plan, with Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor saying withdrawing the subject just two months before it is due to be taught for the first time would disappoint many.

27 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

By-elections bill stokes public anger, poll finds

The city's level of anger has risen, according to the latest opinion poll conducted by the University of Hong Kong, fuelled by events such as the government's controversial proposal to scrap by-elections for the Legislative Council.

12 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

Public being bypassed on by-elections, poll chief says

The change in the way the government proposes to fill midterm vacancies in the Legislative Council without by-elections has swayed some people's opinions but still doesn't take account of the public's views, a pollster says.

1 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

Serious concerns over think tank's poll results

Opinion polls have become part of our daily life. Often we answer the phone only to find we are being asked to give our views on certain topics by an automated machine or a pollster. The questions may touch on a wide range of subjects, ranging from one's satisfaction with the government's performance to personal habits. Some of the findings are eventually published in the media.

9 May 2011 - 12:00am

We polled on other officials, Stephen Lam admits

The government has admitted asking the public if finance chief John Tsang Chun-wah should quit over this year's budget fiasco - and said it was not the first time it had polled people on the performance of top officials.

But in a move that has drawn fire from lawmakers, it has refused to disclose the polls, saying to do so would hurt its ability to run future polls.

5 May 2011 - 12:00am