The number of people in Hong Kong supporting Taiwanese independence has increased and fewer consider themselves Chinese, a survey has found. One political scientist said the findings might be linked to the anti-subversion proposals. Of the 1,026 people interviewed last month by the University of Hong Kong, 66.5 per cent opposed independence for Taiwan, a drop of 4.5 percentage points from September. The number supporting independence rose from 12.7 to 15 per cent. In general, the survey - which began in 1997 - found that those opposed to independence increased from an average of 57 per cent in 1997 to 71 per cent in the first half of 2000. The figure then varied between 65 per cent and 70 per cent. The poll also found fewer people considered themselves Chinese. A total of 52 per cent said they were 'Hong Kong people' while 44 per cent said they were Chinese. In September, 48 per cent said they were Chinese. The proportion of those who considered themselves Chinese has increased from an average of 38 per cent in 1997 to 42 per cent in the second half of last year. Also, those who saw themselves as 'Hong Kong people' dropped from an average of 60 per cent in 1997 to 52 per cent in the second half of last year. James Sung Lap-kung, a political scientist at City University's school of professional and continuing education, said Hong Kong people were losing their identity, despite the fact that fewer consider themselves Chinese over the past few months. 'The government is now promoting the idea of Pearl River Delta region integration and saying that Hong Kong has to rely on the mainland for an economic revival. 'People are feeling that the city is becoming a part of China. 'On the other hand, they envy Taiwan's current political status. That's why more people support the independence of Taiwan. 'The controversial proposals against secession and subversions, which target the sensitive issue of Taiwan, may also drive people's attitudes towards supporting Taiwan independence,' he said.