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Universal suffrage in Hong Kong

One in five Hongkongers 'considering emigration' as pessimism hangs over city

Survey shows considerable pessimism about Hong Kong in wake of 2017 election ruling

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 September, 2014, 6:32am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 2:38pm

More than one in five Hongkongers are so pessimistic about the city's political future that they are thinking of leaving for good, a Chinese University poll found.

On a scale of zero to 10, with 10 being extremely optimistic, the mean score of the respondents was 4.22, which pollsters said indicated a general atmosphere of pessimism.

Some 21.2 per cent said they would consider emigrating.

About 53.7 per cent said the Legislative Council should veto electoral reform proposals if people holding different political views to Beijing were not allowed to run.

This compared with the 29.3 per cent who said the legislature should approve such proposals.

Some 46.3 per cent did not support the Occupy Central protests, while 31.1 per cent indicated their backing for the civil disobedience movement.

The survey was the first under a "Public Opinion and Political Development Studies" project by the university's Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey.

Conducted from September 10 to 17, poll organisers spoke to 1,006 Cantonese-speaking residents aged 15 or above by telephone for their views on the recent political row

According to official figures, about 7,600 Hong Kong people emigrated last year, compared to 30,900 in 1997 and an annual average of 20,000 in the 1980s.

"Further analysis showed those who considered themselves middle-roaders tended to oppose Occupy Central protests," said Professor Paul Lee Siu-nam of the school of journalism and communication.

"But if the future electoral reform proposals are so restrictive that pan-democrats will be screened out, over half of them would support the legislature rejecting the proposals."

Lee said the middle-roaders' opinions would be crucial in the outcome of the electoral reforms.

An earlier survey commissioned by the South China Morning Post found that 48 per cent of people said lawmakers should veto Beijing's reform proposals.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress ruled last month that Hong Kong would be able to use one man, one vote to elect the 2017 chief executive, but only two or three candidates could run and they would need majority support from a nominating committee.

Another survey, commissioned by the Concern Group for Public Opinion on Constitutional Development between September 5 and 10, showed 53.3 per cent of the 1,036 respondents would accept a restrictive reform plan, while 38.2 per cent wanted it voted down.

But group member and Democrat Tik Chi-yuen said: "The administration should not feel comfortable simply because more than 50 per cent of people said they back the reform plan. The opposition rate of 30 per cent could be enough to paralyse society."

Another member, former Democratic Party lawmaker Fred Li Wah-ming, said the poll showed society was already severely polarised.