Local youngsters are less willing to build good relations with their mainland counterparts as the handover approaches, a new survey shows. About 60 per cent of 10,000 secondary students said they were willing to have good relations with mainlanders when the study began last October and November. But it dropped to 45 per cent when the same group of students was interviewed again in April and May, according to the study, jointly commissioned by psychologists from the Hong Kong University and the University of Science and Technology. Students also think Hong Kong is better than China both politically and economically and Hong Kong people are more reliable than their mainland counterparts. According to the survey, nearly 80 per cent said Hong Kong people were reliable but only a fifth said mainland people were reliable. More than three-quarters identified themselves as Hongkongers, or primarily Hongkongers, while only 24 per cent, mostly migrants from China, said they were Chinese. Educational psychologist Lam Shui-fong said the results showed there was prejudice against mainland people. She said the 'worrying phenomenon' could hamper the long-term relations between the two places. 'There may be problems when they are having to get along with each other after the handover,' she said. Those who identified themselves as Hong Kong people were more inclined to stay away from the mainlanders, said another psychologist Chiu Chi-yue, adding that it was difficult to change their perceptions on China. 'They are brought up locally, with little knowledge and connections with the mainland,' he said. Dr Lam said education programmes should be stepped up to help youngsters accept China and the identity of Chinese. 'But pure indoctrination will only make them more rebellious. We should find out which factors will make them more proud of being Chinese,' she said.