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Public doubts support of Hongkong deputies in the face of pressure

HONGKONG people are deeply sceptical of their newly-elected representatives to the National People's Congress (NPC), the first opinion poll on the issue has found.

More than half were unable to name any of the 28 deputies, and an overwhelming majority doubted they would stand by Hongkong in the face of pressure from Beijing.

The Sunday Morning Post survey found 93 per cent of 432 people polled on Wednesday and Thursday believed the NPC delegates' duty was to put Hongkong interests first, even when they clashed with those of the Chinese Government.

But only 29 per cent believed the deputies would perform this task, while 59 per cent doubted they would put the territory ahead of any conflicting interests in Beijing. Twelve per cent expressed no opinion.

And an overwhelming 76 per cent believed the recently-chosen deputies - who have been criticised for their lack of representativeness - do not have enough contact with Hongkong people, while 14 per cent disagreed, and 10 per cent were unsure.

Despite widespread media publicity over the past few weeks, there was also a distinct lack of recognition of the territory's delegates to China's rubber-stamp parliament.

Only 44 per cent could name one of the deputies, while 14 per cent were able to name more than two.

The only delegates with any significant name recognition were actress Lisa Wang and maverick lawyer Miss Dorothy Liu Yiu-chu.

A handful of other delegates were also named by a small number of respondents in the Hongkong Polling and Business Research (PBR) survey, including chairman of the pro-China New Hongkong Alliance Mr Wai Kee-shun - who is also a TV sports commentator - Federation of Trade Union (FTU) chairman Mr Cheng Yiu-tong and tycoon Mr Henry Fok Ying-tung.

But 10 other delegates were not recognised by any of those polled, while many others said they would prefer to see prominent liberal leaders sitting on the NPC.

One in five of those who expressed any view about who should sit in China's parliament on Hongkong's behalf suggested United Democrats' Chairman Mr Martin Lee Chu-ming, while a tenth named Co-operative Resources Centre convener Mr Allen Lee Peng-fei.

There was also overwhelming dissatisfaction with the way Hongkong's 28 deputies were chosen by the recent session of the Guangdong People's Congress.

More than 72 per cent said it was wrong for the territory's representatives to be chosen by mainland people in this manner, while 20 per cent believed it was all right and eight per cent were unsure.

But there was a solid - although small - bedrock of support for the NPC delegates.

Twenty per cent of those polled said they trusted them to put Hongkong's interests first, while another 17 per cent believed the delegates would represent both the territory and China's interests.

However they were outnumbered by 48 per cent who believed the deputies would put Beijing's interests above those of Hongkong.

Veteran NPC delegate Mr Cheng said he was not surprised by the survey result because many Hongkong people did not know much about the Chinese parliament.

The FTU chairman said the poor name recognition stemmed from the reality NPC delegates could never play a more active role in a society under British administration.

''There are certain historical factors for NPC delegates to take a low profile,'' he said. ''No country will allow the existence of two power bases in its territory.

''But I am sure that as 1997 approaches the role of NPC delegates will become more important.'' Saying Hongkong people did not care much about Executive and Legislative Councils in the past because their members were appointed rather than elected, he believed it was only natural people developed similar attitude towards NPC delegates.

''I think it is natural that people do not care about NPC delegates because there is a lack of direct linkage,'' he said. ''In the past most Hongkong people did not care much about the Executive and the Legislative Councils, too.'' The NPC delegates who were not named by any of those surveyed included unionist Mr Luk Tat-kim, garment industrialist Mr Chan Wing-kee, deputy director of the local branch of the Bank of China Mr Huang Diyan, lawyer and pro-China politician Ms Elsie Leung Oi-sze, veteran businessman Mr Choy Wai-hang, New Territories leftist leader Mr Li Lin-sang, Bank of China adviser Mr Chen Hong, Federation of Trade Unions doctor Mr Tong Chee-on and Fujian traders association leader Mr Wong Kwong-hon.