The Hong Kong Transition Project

Tomorrow Has Not Died

(January 22 1998)

New Year, New Sovereign, New System: New Attitudes?

 

Watching Chief Executive Tung's response to the second Q&A at the Provisional Legco 15 January frustrated many viewers in Hong Kong. Bad enough this was only his second time in 7 months on the job to have public interaction with the people's representatives. Bad too that he has exposed himself so little to them, for just over two hours in that 7 months have been given to interaction and questions with the representatives; provisional though they are, they as the Legislative Council are the core of representative and accountable government. Bad also that he has severely limited his exposure to the Hong Kong public and media recently, except in carefully crafted and buffered events. Worse, as Paul Cheng, no firebrand dissident and populist, made clear on RTHK the morning of the Q & A meeting, has been some in the Hong Kong civil service's absolute disdain to meet Legislators in the appropriate committees to even discuss affairs and seek ideas for ameliorative actions which could be taken in short order to provide some spark of hope and comfort to a people so stunned with bad news they can't remember the good. Worst of all in the televised session: Tung's hand wringing protestations of government inability to do anything, repeated entreaties to wait patiently until the Financial Secretary rolls out his budget in late February, (an eternity away for traumatized people, many of whom will be making major decisions over the Chinese New Year about whether or not to even stay in business) and assurances that "the fundamentals" are still sound. Most people have no idea what "the fundamentals" are. They need to be constantly spelled out, not repeated in a meaningless phrase like a mantra.

When the economy at the local, shop level is almost as dead as the chickens, and tourists as scarce as profits, when jobs by hundreds are being lost, when the stock market steps off a cliff and interest rates soar out of sight, taking income needed to put food on the table of those holding variable mortagages with it, when a strange, unknown disease kills a third of those it infected and the health service can't even get the difference between mouthwash and cough syrup (for babies!) right, and when 60 million Hong Kong dollars is spent and 30,000 people knock for weeks on doors trying in vain to get registrants for what many resent as a rigged election, and when leadership appears absent and confused during all this, well, the perception that things are bad and getting worse all around easily takes root and lends yet further impetus to the downward spiral of confidence in Hong Kong's tomorrow.

However, more objectively, for those who can manage the effort, the good news is that Hong Kong has weathered the Asian meltdown pretty well, so far. While people in Indonesia have lost 75% of the value of their currency, nearly 2/3 of their stock values, face no growth and 20% inflation in the year of the Tiger, and have ceded control of their economy to the IMF, and while South Korea and Thailand are not much better off and every other country in the region, except China and Hong Kong, have also lost values in their currency and seen substantial drops in their stock markets, Hong Kong has not suffered nearly as much. It expects 3-4% growth, lower inflation than ever, no loss of currency value. In fact, relative to the region, Hong Kong people are richer than ever and should consider this a superb chance to get out into Southeast Asia and identify investment opportunities. Hong Kong also has substantially corrected its property bubble, one of the main and hitherto growing impediments to its growth and social stability. Furthermore, while most countries in the region had to cancel infrastructure projects wholesale, Hong Kong has not. Indeed, Hong Kong could, if its government had more initiative, speed up these vital projects, such as the transport net throughout Kowloon and New Territories, and especially the connecting transport links to Guangzhou, Zhuhai/Macau, and Shenzhen. Mr. Kennedy Wong's strange idea that 24 hour "border" access would see poor people leaving Hong Kong in sufficient numbers to further depress the property market, and Mr. Tung's promise to have the government examine this absurd idea, shows just how confused everyone, from the Chief Executive down, is after the hammer blows the severe tourist slump, avian flu, and Asian meltdown have had on the Hong Kong mind. Building a growth triangle throughout the Pearl River Delta, including its infrastructure ties, and promoting easier and faster access to it, are the very keys to a revived and dynamic economy. But that's another case to be made elsewhere.

Despite all the bad feelings and increasingly negative press and media, there is good and bad news to be had in the latest survey of Hong Kong people's opinion, completed 8 January 1998. One piece of major good news is a dramatic improvement in Hong Kong people's opinion of the Chinese government. Dissatisfaction with the performance of the PRC government is at its lowest level yet recorded in this series of surveys.

Table1. Are you currently satisfied or dissatisfied with the performance of the PRC Government?

Satisfied

Dissatisfied

Don't know

Feb 93

35

49

16

Aug 93

26

55

19

Feb 94

29

53

18

Aug 94

24

64

12

Feb 95

22

62

16

Sept 95

15

62

24

Feb 96

30

49

22

July 96

28

56

16

Feb 97

38

45

17

June 97

34

51

15

Jan 98

37

39

24

 

Dissatisfaction with the Hong Kong Government's dealing with China has also dropped.

 

Table 2. Are you currently satisfied or dissatisfied with the performance of the Hong Kong Government in dealing with China?

Satisfied

Dissatisfied

Don't know

Feb 95

21

46

33

Sept 95

23

48

29

Feb 96

30

41

29

July 96

37

38

25

June 97

44

41

15

Jan 98

44

32

24

The real story of dramatic change lies in how Hong Kong people feel about the way the PRC government has dealt with Hong Kong.

 

Table 3. Are you currently satisfied or dissatisfied with the performance of the PRC government in dealing with Hong Kong affairs?

 

Satisfied

Dissatisfied

Don't know

Aug 93

25

54

22

Feb 93

23

56

21

Aug 94

21

63

16

Feb 95

20

60

20

Sept 95

17

62

22

Feb 96

31

49

20

July 96

27

58

15

June 97

45

41

14

Jan 98

61

22

18

The chart below of the numbers in table 3 much better illustrates what amounts to a complete turnaround from the situation regarding China during the September 1995 elections. This of course has tremendous implications for the May 1998 elections, for the China Factor, so long dominant in Hong Kong's politics, has fundamentally changed. (More in the Election Section below.)

 

The China Factor in Hong Kong politics is dead, at least for now.

The same good news does not, however, carry forward into satisfaction with life in Hong Kong at the moment, though Hong Kong has exhibited, and weathered, feelings just as bad before.

Table 4. Are you currently satisfied or dissatisfied with your life in Hong Kong ?

Satisfied

Dissatisfied

Don't know

Nov 91

84

15

1

Feb 93

85

13

2

Aug 93

88

10

2

Feb 94

88

10

2

Aug 94

87

10

3

Feb 95

86

9

5

Sep 95

80

18

2

Feb 96

85

13

2

July 96

88

10

2

Feb 97

90

9

1

June 97

86

12

2

Jan 98

81

16

3

These levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction are the same as during the September 1995 elections. The role of social issues, daily life concerns, economic considerations, and, as in September 1995, the government's concern and competence with these issues, will be, and already is, a campaign issue. One point to note, the increased number of immigrants from the mainland into Hong Kong are much happier with life in Hong Kong than those born here. Mr. Tung, as mainland born, may not be quite as sensitive to local feelings as the 70% of Hong Kong residents who were born here.

 

Table 5. Satsifaction by birthplace:

China born

HK born

Very dissatisfied

3

1

Somewhat dissatisfied

11

15

Somewhat satisfied

68

73

Very satisfied

15

8

Don't Know

3

3

Total

30

70

Table contents: Percent of Column Total

Chi-square = 11.33 with 4 df p = 0.0231

 

However, there does seem to be evidence that Hong Kong people are distinguishing dissatisfaction with the government from dissatisfaction with Mr. Tung.

Table 6. Are you currently satisfied or dissatisfied with the general performance of the Hong Kong Government ?

Satisfied

Dissatisfied

Don't know

Feb 93

60

31

9

Aug 93

57

28

15

Feb 94

58

28

14

Aug 94

56

30

14

Feb 95

43

35

22

Sep 95

46

45

9

Feb 96

60

26

15

July 96

67

21

11

Feb 97

73

20

7

June 97

66

27

7

Jan 98

51

35

4

While, according to polls conducted by other researchers in Hong Kong in the months succeeding the reunion 1 July, Mr. Tung's popularity soared to unheard of levels, at this point, our survey shows that he still polls above his pre-reunion, pre-job assumption numbers, despite the economic troubles. He is also doing better than the civil service. (51% satisfaction with the government vs 60% with Mr. Tung.)

Table 7. Are you satisfied with the performance of Chief Executive Tung?

Very Dissatisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Somewhat Satisfied

Very Satisfied

Don't Know

Feb 97

5

19

48

5

23

June 97

5

24

46

4

21

Jan 98

3

26

57

3

11

In fact, in office, Mr. Tung, despite the downturn, is doing as well as Governor Patten before he departed, as the table below shows. Patten never scored as well as the satisfaction rates of the Hong Kong government as a whole.

Table 8. Are you satisfied with the performance of Governor Patten?

Very Dissatisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Somewhat Satisfied

Very Satisfied

Don't Know

Feb 97

5

26

58

4

8

June 97

7

29

54

3

7

However, Mr. Tung scores less well with those intending to vote for the Democratic Party in the election. These make up one out of four of those who intend to vote. While 28% of those who do not favour the Democratic Party expressed dissatisfaction with Tung, 40% of Democratic favoured intended voters did and while 3% of the non Democratic favoured were very satisfied with Tung, none, not one, of those favouring Democrats were very satisfied. Still, a majority of both groups express satisfaction with Tung.

Table 9. Satisfaction with CE Tung by Favour Democratic Party or not

Very Dissatisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Somewhat Satisfied

Very Satisfied

Don't Know

Non DP

3

25

57

3

12

DP favored

7

33

55

0

5

Both groups

3

26

57

3

11

table contents: Percent of Row Total

Chi-square = 14.14 with 4 df p = 0.0069

The same cannot be said about those who favour the Democratic Party in the elections and their satisfaction with the government as a whole. 50% are dissatisfied vs only 33% of the non-Democratic Party inclined intended voters.

 

Table 10. Satisfaction with SAR Government by Favour Democratic Party or not

Very Dissatisfied

Somewhat dissatisfied

Somewhat Satisfied

Very Satisfied

Don't Know

Non DP

4

29

50

3

15

DP favored

4

46

40

1

10

Both groups

4

31

49

2

14

table contents: Percent of Row Total

Chi-square = 12.16 with 4 df p = 0.0162

 

That there has now been a reversal, with the Chief Executive scoring above the satisfaction rate with government as a whole, may mean that pre-handover esteem for the civil service as the main factor of stability and prosperity has been tarnished somewhat by the repeated instances of civil service errors and neglect of the public. Rather than retreat into secretiveness, civil service needs a thorough house cleaning and calling back into account. One of the unintended consequences of diluting representative bodies is the removal of a sense of obligation on the part of the civil service to listen to the people's representatives. But, this disdain has hurt the civil service itself. They need the watchdog barking at them to keep their own performance levels up. They also need to restore their media relations. If Tung chooses post-election, or before it, to renew moves toward a ministerial style Executive Council, by-passing civil service leadership on high profile, politically sensitive policy issues, the reactions from public and media will not be as strongly negative as immediately before and after the handover when Tung first tried it.

 

Worry: Levels and Sources

 

The report issued 17 June 1997 by the Hong Kong Transition Project stated: " The importance of the economy in maintaining overall optimism about Hong Kong after the handover cannot be overstated." The troubles and collapse of confidence felt in Hong Kong recently due to the widespread economic troubles in Southeast Asia has had some significant effects on levels of worry. The total expressing some degree of worry on standard of living is the highest ever recorded in this series, going back to 1991.

 

Table 11. How worried are you about : Personal standard of living in Hong Kong?

Not Worried

slightly worried

fairly worried

Very Worried

Don't know

Nov 91

56

23

12

5

4

Feb 93

45

21

19

10

5

Aug 93

47

27

14

8

4

Feb 94

51

29

13

5

1

Aug 94

44

38

12

5

1

Feb 95

50

26

15

6

3

Sept 95

48

26

14

9

3

Feb 96

47

29

13

7

4

July 96

44

34

12

7

3

Feb 97

49

36

10

2

2

June 97

47

36

11

5

1

Jan 98

42

30

18

8

1

The good news is despite all the troubles about 40% aren't worried about its effects on them personally. Up to January 1998 the questions on worry were oriented toward estimating or forcasting levels of concern following the 1997 reunion. In January, the questions simply became worry at the moment about the various issues. In some sense, the reality of post-reunion worry is a bit more than people expected in prospect. This is particularly true of what worries people most. In that sense, political relations, the area of major worry before handover, have turned out much better than economics, the one area few worried about before.

In the June 1997 survey, optimism or pessimism toward the economy was as in the table below. The trend over 1997, until the Asian economic crisis erupted in December 1997, was of increasing economic optimism.

Table 12. Having thought about the issues relating to the 1997 handover, how do you feel about the future of Hong Kong's ECONOMIC performance?

Percent

Cumulative Percent

Percent

Cumulative Percent

Feb 97

Feb 97

June 97

June 97

Very Optimistic

4

4

4

4

Optimistic

56

60

62

66

Neither

25

85

21

87

Pessimistic

13

98

11

98

Very Pessimistic

-

1

99

Refuse to Answer

2

100

2

101*

*Percentages may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

However, on political issues like human rights and fulfilling of the promise of Hong Kong people to rule Hong Kong without interference from Beijing, the trend before handover was for pessimism about things political to be increasing, as the table below shows.

Table 13. Having thought about the issues relating to the 1997 handover, how do you feel about the future of Hong Kong's POLITICAL performance?

Percent

Cumulative Percent

Percent

Cumulative Percent

Feb 97

Feb 97

June 97

June 97

Very Optimistic

2

2

2

2

Optimistic

38

40

37

39

Neither

32

72

27

66

Pessimistic

21

93

27

95

Very Pessimistic

1

94

1

96

Refuse to Answer

6

100

4

100

These widespread expectations turned out to be precisely wrong. But, it took a few months for circumstances to manifest themselves. Against most expectations, Beijing has assumed an apparently low profile in and over the SAR. On the other hand, a nearly entirely unexpected economic downturn has occurred. Those who did fear economic problems before reunion expected it to originate from corruption and intereference in Hong Kong's economy and businesses by mainland cadres and their collaborators in Hong Kong. That didn't happen.

The concerns that corruption would be the trigger of economic difficulty has dissipated, though concerns with corruption continue as the number two most worried about area of life, as the next table shows. Economic concerns, putting personal prospects and family prospects together with Hong Kong's economic prospects, means that 57% consider an economic issue their greatest worry.

 

Table 14. Which aspects worry you the most? (To June 97, "which post-97 aspects")

Living Standard

Security/ Freedom

Family prospect

HK Econ prospects

Political Stability

Corruption in HK

Gov't efficiency

DK

Feb 93

11

28

13

18

27

3

Aug 93

12

29

15

14

26

3

Feb 94

11

28

12

19

24

6

Aug 94

13

27

11

15

24

10

Feb 95

12

25

8

8

23

9

15

Sept 95

17

17

11

10

23

9

12

Feb 96

14

25

9

9

22

9

12

July 96

8

19

5

13

16

22

5

10

Dec 96

7

13

6

14

16

35

4

5

Feb 97

11

17

5

9

15

30

8

7

June 97

11

14

5

8

15

33

7

6

Jan 98

10

7

7

40

9

12

6

9

Concerns with personal freedom and political stability have diminished considerably, as may be seen here and below. Economic related concerns, in gold hues above, clearly dominate what concerns Hong Kong people most.)

As key components of the "China Factor" in Hong Kong politics in the past, the diminution of these worries and the eruption of concern with the economy will make the May elections far less typical of Hong Kong's prior elections, and far more like elections in other countries, focused on economic and social issues and local concerns, and on the government's record of performance. Forget China as the great fascination of Hong Kong politics. To steal the Clinton slogan: It's the Economy, Stupid.

Worries about corruption have diminished significantly for the first time since surveys started in mid-1996. Note also the drop in fairly and very worried. But all is not good news on this front, as may be seen in other tables below on corruption in the SAR government.

 

Table 15. How worried are you about: corruption in HK?

Not Worried

slightly worried

fairly worried

Very Worried

Don't know

July 96

22

26

23

22

6

Dec 96

11

25

29

31

4

Feb 97

20

31

24

17

7

June 97

20

28

28

21

3

Jan 98

43

25

17

9

6

 

The civil service's mistakes and missteps recently have kept concerns with government efficiency at a high level, despite the smooth handover. This is one area where the level of worry has remained about the same as before reunion.

 

Table 16. How worried are you about: HK gov't efficiency?

Not Worried

slightly worried

fairly worried

Very Worried

Don't know

Feb 95

28

30

24

6

11

Sept 95

25

34

17

11

13

Feb 96

25

30

20

9

17

July 96

28

37

16

9

10

Dec 96

29

37

19

8

7

Feb 97

33

31

14

6

16

June 97

27

34

17

8

14

Jan 98

33

31

20

6

11

There seems to be some continuing, though not yet growing, concern with corruption among SAR officials, with those saying it is not common dropping below a majority for the first time in our surveys. The Don't Know responses have soared, so confidence in a clean civil service seems falling, and perhaps uncertainty whether corruption may be behind its recent missteps, seems rising.

 

Table 17. How common do you think corruption is currently among HK government officials?

July 1996

Feb 1997

June 1997

Jan 1998

Not common

54

55

56

48

Slightly common

19

28

29

17

Fairly common

10

8

6

6

Very common

3

2

2

2

Don't Know

14

7

7

27

Curiously, likely voters who favour Democratic Party candidates have a higher opinion, and a lower opinion, of Hong Kong civil servants. While 46% of non-Democrat inclined likely voters thought corruption was not common among SAR officials, 55% of Democrat inclined did. However, while only 8% of non-Democrat inclined thought corruption fairly or very common, 12% of Democrat inclined felt that way. The difference is in undecideds, with Democrat inclined likely voters in all cases to be more decisive in their opinions than other likely voters. Perhaps these voters include the more idealistic and more cynical. The Democratic Party attracts those who have high ideals and want society to achieve them. But it also attracts those who think government needs cleaning up, and watching carefully to keep it on the straight and narrow.

 

Table 18. How common do you think corruption is currently among HK government officials? By likely voters, favouring or not favoring Democratic Party candidates

Non Democrat favored

Democrat favored

Total

Not Common

46

55

48

Slightly common

18

14

17

Fairly common

6

7

6

Very Common

2

5

2

Don't Know

28

19

27

Chi-square = 9.821 with 4 df p = 0.0436

 

Table 19. How common do you think corruption is currently among PRC officials?

Feb 1997

June 1997

Jan 1998

Not common

1

2

1

Slightly common

6

7

3

Fairly common

28

32

28

Very common

56

51

56

Don't Know

9

8

11

There has no significant change in assessments of corruption in the PRC, nor in assessments of corruption's impact on the Hong Kong economy, which is greatly feared by a majority.

 

Table 20. How seriously do you think corruption will affect HK economic prospects after 1997? (January 98 on: How seriously do you think corruption is affecting HK's economy?)

July 1996

Feb 1997

June 1997

Jan 1998

Seriously affect HK

51

56

60

54

Slightly affect HK

38

36

32

31

Won't affect HK

4

4

5

8

Don't Know

7

4

3

7

 

Political Stability still an issue, but the feared source has changed

 

The economic troubles and dissatisfaction with the SAR government do seem to have kept concerns about Hong Kong's political stability higher than they might have been, though again the number of not worried is at the highest level recorded in the survey series, back to 1991.

Table 21. How worried are you about: the political stability of Hong Kong?

Not Worried

slightly worried

fairly worried

Very Worried

DK

Nov 91

43

22

14

8

13

Feb 93

28

22

23

12

15

Aug 93

35

22

17

12

14

Feb 94

34

28

18

9

11

Aug 94

30

33

20

11

6

Feb 95

32

25

25

7

12

Sept 95

31

30

16

11

12

Feb 96

30

29

18

10

13

July 96

28

34

18

10

10

Dec 96

26

38

22

9

5

Feb 97

42

33

13

5

6

June 97

35

35

16

7

7

Jan 98

44

25

17

3

10

A major component of the "China Factor" in politics has changed abruptly.

Table 22. How worried are you about: Personal freedom in Hong Kong?

Not Worried

slightly worried

fairly worried

Very Worried

Don't know

Nov 91

56

23

11

6

3

Feb 93

44

21

20

10

4

Aug 93

43

28

16

9

4

Feb 94

46

28

16

8

2

Aug 94

37

38

14

9

1

Feb 95

44

26

18

8

4

Sept 95

50

23

12

12

3

Feb 96

43

29

16

9

4

July 96

41

34

15

8

2

Dec 96

42

35

12

7

4

Feb 97

48

31

14

5

2

June 97

45

34

13

7

1

Jan 98

63

21

11

3

2

 

The relative lack of change in concern with political stability, accompanied by major changes in China related concerns like personal freedom, satisfaction with the PRC'S handling of Hong Kong related affairs, satisfaction with the PRC government's handling of China, and so on, seems to indicate that fears of political instability are now linked with the local economy and local politics, not to interference,political or economic,from China.

The China Factor in Hong Kong Politics: Dead or Dying

The China factor dominated Hong Kong politics and elections since negotiations for the return of Hong Kong began in 1982. The strongest indicator that the China Factor is dead, or nearly so, may be seen in the next data sets. The first charts responses to a question of people's preferences if they could decide the outcome of history. The second, asks for assessment of how things have turned out for Hong Kong so far.

Table 23. If you could control history and determine its outcome, which of the following arrangements of Hong Kong after 1997 would you choose?

HK independent

British Colony

Commonwealth

Join China

Don't know

Feb 93

25

19

8

42

6

Aug 93

22

21

9

39

9

Feb 94

24

15

10

44

7

Aug 94

24

17

11

41

7

Feb 95

24

20

7

42

7

Aug 95

16

21

9

45

10

Feb 96

14

18

12

46

10

July 96

17

18

9

48

8

Dec 96

18

13

12

53

4

Feb 97

14

13

8

62

3

June 97

17

15

10

53

5

In January 1998, we introduced a new question, as below.

 

Table 24. Do you agree or disagree that the reunification with China under "One Country, Two Systems" has been the best arrangement for Hong Kong?

Strongly disagree

Somewhat disagree

No opinion

Somewhat agree

Strongly agree

Jan 1998

4

16

20

45

16

 

Four times as many strongly agree than strongly disagree. The 61% who agree with joining China under the "One country, Two systems" principle puts the supporters of systemic change firmly in the majority. Those who oppose it, only 1 out of 5 (20%) now, represents a considerable drop from the 42% who preferred other alternatives in June 1997, a few weeks before handover. There are still a disturbingly large number, 20%, who seem to be witholding judgment. However, if the PRC continues to conduct itself as circumspectly as it has been doing, there should be a movement of these doubters toward agreement. However much Hong Kongers support reunion with China under "One country, Two systems," they do not consider it suitable for applying to Taiwan. 22% think it suitable, 45% unsuitable (11% very unsuitable) and 33% have no opinion. On matters of identity there has been no great move toward describing oneself as simply Chinese, or even as Hong Kong Chinese.

 

Table 25. What do you consider yourself to be? (IDENTITY)

Chinese

HK Chinese

HK people

HK British

Overseas Chinese

Others

Feb 93

19

36

37

7

1

Aug 93

20

34

35

10

1

Feb 94

21

40

28

8

1

Aug 94

19

38

32

10

1

Feb 95

20

32

35

11

1

Aug 95

22

32

36

8

1

Feb 96

30

28

35

5

2

July 96

30

20

45

3

2

Feb 97

30

28

35

3

3

1

June 97

25

24

44

4

2

1

Jan 98

27

27

39

3

2

2

While fear of China has diminished, love for it has not grown, as the next two tables clearly show.

Table 26. How does the celebration of National Day make you feel?

Indifferent

Another holiday

Proud

Excited

Other/NA

Jan 1998

71

11

7

7

4

 

There is a definite correlation between identity and patriotic feelings, with only 6% of people identifying themselves as a Hong Kong person feeling proud and excited on National Day versus 21% of Chinese identity having these patriotic feelings. The most patriotic, though they make up a tiny portion of Hong Kong residents, are the overseas Chinese, 31% of whom are proud or excited on National Day.

 

Table 27. Identity by feelings on National Day

HK Chinese

Chinese

HK person

HK British

Overseas Chinese

Other

total

Indifferent

72

59

81

85

39

53

71

Another holiday

10

12

10

5

23

27

11

Proud

10

9

3

5

8

13

7

Excited

7

12

3

5

23

7

7

Other/NA

1

7

3

0

0

0

3

total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

table contents: Percent of Column Total

Chi-square = 63.82 with 25 df p ≤ 0.0001

 

An even stronger measure of patriotism is whether people would be willing to defend a country. In this case, even though only 14% felt proud or excited by National Day, about a third would be willing to join the military to defend China in case of war.

 

Table 28. If China went to war with a foreign power, would you be willing or unwilling to join the military?

Very unwilling

Somewhat unwilling

No Opinion

Somewhat willing

Very willing

Jan 1998

20

25

23

22

9

 

Again, how one identifies oneself is strongly correlated with how willing one would be to join the military, so the connection between identity as Chinese and patriotism is clear.

 

Table 29. Identity by willingness to join military in wartime

HK Chinese

Chinese

HK person

HK British

Overseas Chinese

Other

total

Very unwilling

19

16

22

40

15

40

20

Somewhat unwilling

23

21

32

15

23

7

25

No opinion

25

21

21

35

31

33

23

Somewhat willing

22

29

21

10

31

0

22

Very willing

11

13

5

0

0

20

9

total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

table contents: Percent of Column Total

Chi-square = 45.47 with 20 df p = 0.0010

 

There also seems to be a fairly strong relationship between travel to China and patriotism. Those who travel in China at least 3-5 times over a two year period have much greater willingness to join the military in time of war. Whether they travel into China because they are patriotic, or whether such travel helps to make them patriotic, is not determinable, but there is a relationship.

 

Perhaps rather than restricting travel into China by restricting border hours, and rather than make it more difficult for Hong Kong civil servants to travel to China, the SAR government should move toward encouraging travel into China as much as possible, setting up 24 hour border crossing and positively encouraging civil servants to vacation in China and go to conferences in China with their counterparts.

 

Times to travel in China in past two years by willingness to join military

None

1-2

3-5

6-10

11-15

> 15

NA

total

Very unwilling

22

22

21

23

0

20

0

20

Somewhat unwilling

26

25

24

25

38

25

0

25

No opinion

29

24

19

17

17

19

83

23

Somewhat willing

16

20

29

28

33

23

17

22

Very willing

7

9

7

8

13

13

0

9

total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

table contents: Percent of Column Total

Chi-square = 35.76 with 24 df p = 0.0579

 

Another association of patriotism with China ties with policy implications lies with whether or not one has family living in China. While those who do are no more willing to join the military than those who don't, those who do not have family in China are more unwilling to join (57% in total unwilling vs 49% who do).

 

Family in China? by Willing to join military

Yes

No

Total

Very unwilling

19

30

23

Somewhat unwilling

30

27

29

No opinion

25

17

22

Somewhat willing

19

17

18

Very willing

7

9

8

total

100

100

100

table contents: Percent of Column Total

Chi-square = 9.588 with 4 df p = 0.0480

 

There may be some value in reexamining the SAR's policy of strongly discouraging Hong Kong people from marrying people from the mainland by making entry permits into Hong Kong for spouses from the mainland difficult to obtain, and then only after a long separation. Stronger family ties into China may also be one means of encouraging love of China.

 

Most Hong Kong people (67%) do not think mainlanders in Hong Kong enjoy special privileges. Only 22% do. Nor do most, though by a considerably lesser margin, think foreigners enjoy special privileges (40% do and 49% do not). But, a bare majority do think that Hong Kongers enjoy special privileges over mainlanders in China, with 52% thinking so and 39% not. But these figures seem to indicate that feelings of widespread discrimination on basis of nationality are absent. Asking only those born in China if they feel they have been discriminated against due to their mainland origin, only one out four said yes and the rest no.

 

A strong majority of Hong Kong people do not wish to encourage patriotism, or at least, the more overt forms of it, by making it part of the school curriculum. We measured the degree of support for patriotism and politics in the curriculm by using a "stepped" series of questions in which the political and patriotic element increased in each question.

 

First, we asked:

 

Table 30. Do you support of oppose teaching civic education in the schools?

Strongly oppose

Somewhat oppose

Neutral

Somewhat support

Strongly support

Refuse to answer

Jan 1998

3

3

14

47

28

4

 

Civic education with 75% in favour and only 6% in opposition seems well supported.

 

Table 31. Do you support of oppose the schools teaching political history of China and Hong Kong?

Strongly oppose

Somewhat oppose

Neutral

Somewhat support

Strongly support

Refuse to answer

Jan 1998

3

8

12

52

21

4

Even teaching political history of China and Hong Kong gained 73% support, 11% opposition. Changing the textbooks to be more overtly patriotic, however, might be more of problem. In the next question, the issue of patriotism was made explicit.

 

Table 32. Do you support of oppose the schools to have patriotic school plays or lessons?

Strongly oppose

Somewhat oppose

Neutral

Somewhat support

Strongly support

Refuse to answer

Jan 1998

7

22

24

35

8

5

 

Clearly, with only 43% backing such lessons, and 29% opposed, overt patriotism as part of the curriculum loses majority support. Even more patriotic behaviors garner yet greater censure. They also tended to make people opt out of the question series, becoming perhaps too political for the comfort of respondents.

 

Table 33. Should or should not school children sing the National Anthem and have a flag raising ceremony every day?

Should

Should not

Don't Know

January 1998

18

61

21

Clearly, people in Hong Kong want their educational system focused on effective, not patriotic, education. This leads directly into the language of instruction as an issue.

 

National, International, or Local Language?

Other curricular matters relating to relations with China and the rest of the world center around the issue of language use in schools, work and at home. This has recently become a very contentious issue in Hong Kong, with moves by the Education Department to impose mother tongue teaching (Cantonese, not the national language, mandarin) in most of the schools. We asked a series of questions in this area.

 

Table 34. Which do you think is the most important language for teaching in school?

Cantonese

Mandarin

English

No opinion

Jan 1998

38

8

41

13

 

However, as can be seen above, opinion is split between whether Cantonese or English is the most important language for teaching in school. Mandarin barely appears on the chart. However, mandarin receives more support when it comes to work and daily life.

 

Table 35. At your work or in daily life, how important is it for you to speak mandarin fluently?

Very important

Somewhat important

Not important

No opinion

Jan 1998

17

34

46

3

Those who believe it is very important to speak puthongua fluently tend to cluster among professionals and executives, students, teachers, and, surprisingly, the unemployed. About 1 in 4 of these groups believe it is very important. People do use a variety of languages and dialects at home. Surprisingly, as many report using English at home as mandarin.

What languages/dialect do you speak at home? (%) (multiple responses)

Cantonese: 97

Mandarin: 6

Fujian: 2

Chaozhou: 3

Shanghai: 1

English: 6

Other 2

English dominates when it comes to languages used elsewhere. A majority of Hong Kong people report using English, and many, a wide array of the world's tongues.

 

What other languages do you use? (%, multiple responses)

English: 58

French: 1

German: 1

Japanese: 3

Malaysian: 1

Others: 13

Remarkably, 6% of people report speaking mandarin or English at home, while 58% use English outside the home. This proportion rises dramatically with education levels. Interestingly, even some of those with limited education report using English. 10% of those with less than a primary five education say they use English.

Table 36. Users of English by years of education

0-P-5

6-P grad

7-8/F1-F2

9-10/F3-F4/T1

11-F5 Grad

12-13/F6-F7

14-18/UnivGrad/PGrad

total

No English

90

95

79

63

30

19

10

42

English user

10

5

21

37

70

81

90

58

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

table contents: Percent of Column Total

Chi-square = 259.3 with 6 df p ≤ 0.0001

 

While 90% of those with a primary five or less education do not use English, and 95% of primarly 6 graduates don't, fully 90% of those with a university graduate degree do. Indeed, 70% of Form Five graduates and 81% of Form Six and Seven graduates use English. This does not seem to be an artifact of Hong Kong education, for those born in China show the same pattern of increased use of English with increased education, even if not quite so prononunced as those born in Hong Kong.

 

Table 37. Users of English by years of education (those born in China)

0-P-5

6-P grad

7-8/F1-F2

9-10/F3-F4/T1

11-F5 Grad

12-13/F6-F7

14-18/Univ Grad/PGrad

total

No English

97

100

100

77

66

48

24

75

English user

3

0

0

23

35

52

77

25

total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

table contents: Percent of Column Total

Chi-square = 53.62 with 6 df p ≤ 0.0001

77% of China born with a university education use English, 52% of Form 6 and 7 graduates, and fully 25% of those from China as a whole use English. The reason Hong Kong parents may support schools teaching in English is that they use it themselves and realize its advantages. This is especially true for the more educated.

 

The government should use persuasion, rather than coercion, in moving to mother tongue education. If the SAR government could show that schools teaching in Chinese and having enhanced English language programmes actually turn out fluent English speakers, then Hong Kong parents might object less to the proposed changes. As it is, there is not a clear majority supporting the government's policy of Cantonese language schools while there is a strong and large proportion, 41%, who would prefer education to be conducted in English. These people are also predominantly the better educated.

 

Political Culture: Dying, Thriving, Becoming Like China's?

The vast majority (71%) perceive that Hong Kong's political culture is becoming more like China's. The only difference for most lies in whether the changes are taking place slowly or quickly. Contrary to the widespread reports of no perceptable change in Hong Kong, the vast majority apparently feel change beneath their feet.

 

Table 38. Do you think or not think the political culture of the SAR is becoming more like China's?

Yes, quickly

Yes, slowly

No change detected

Don't Know

Jan 1998

13

58

23

6

Some of this perception of change in China's direction lies in human rights, as the table below indicates. We did phrase the question in such a way as to contrast its present status with its past state under British rule. This was an attempt to avoid the tendency to coat the past in a golden haze. We also wanted to remind respondents that Hong Kong was a British, ie, foreign, colony in the time period of comparison.

Table 39. Do you feel you have the same/more/less rights when comparing HK of today to when it was a British colony?

More rights

Same rights

Less rights

Don't Know

Jan 1998

6

60

28

6

Apparently colonial status made no difference, with more than four times as many convinced they have less rights now than those who think they have more rights under "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong." The majority, 60%, feel they have the same rights.

Objectively, political behaviors have changed little, and then in only minor ways. Since 1 July 1997 there seems to have been some drop off in contact with representative bodies, particularly when comparing contact with elected Legco members versus the Provisional Legco. But loss of office has had an affect on ex-Legco members, though they still draw more contact than Provisional Legco members, even while the latter enjoy the privileges of office. Also, some of that contact may have shifted to government departments.

Table 40. Did you express concern or seek help from any of the following groups in the past 12 months?

(July 96)

(Feb 97)

(June 97)

(Jan 1998)

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Contact Government Dept.

8

92

10

90

10

90

13

87

Contact Representative (Ex-Legco)

7

93

6

94

6

94

3

97

Contact Prep. Cte. member

1

99

2

98

1

99

Contact Prov. Legco member

--

--

1

99

1

99

1

99

Contact Xinhua/China Adviser

-

100

1

99

1

99

-

100

Contact Mass Media

5

95

6

94

5

95

6

94

Contact MAC/Kaifong

6

94

6

94

7

93

8

92

Contact pressure/pol. group

2

98

3

97

2

98

2

98

Demonstrate/protest

8

92

8

92

7

93

5

95

Signature Campaign

44

56

47

53

43

57

41

59

Opinion survey (excludes this)

32

68

29

71

33

66

37

63

Donate to political party

11

89

14

86

16

84

18

82

The one clear result of the reunion is that monetary donations to political parties have continued to rise, petition signing has stayed steady at a world high level, and very little, if any change, can be seen in contacting the media, demonstrating, and responding to opinion polls. What has not grown is contacting a political party, but then, neither has contacting national level political elements like China affairs advisers, NPC delegates, or Xinhua and other national agencies.

However, there have been some developments on who people think should be consulted on issues affecting people's livlihood. Esteem for those with specialized knowlege on issues has continued to rise. This may be behind the majority who support the idea of functional constituency elections, as discussed below. Damage to the representative body in Hong Kong is visible, with preferences that the government should listen to the legislative body dropping from 11% in June 1997 to a combined total, Provisional Legco and Ex-Legco members, of 8% in January. There does seem some move toward consulting parties and pressure groups, but the numbers are too low for a change from 2% to 4% to be confirmed as an actual increase.

 

Table 41. If there is an important issue to be settled which is affecting people's livelihood, which is the MOST appropriate group that the government should listen to?

Feb 96

July 96

Feb 97

June 97

Jan 98

Provisional Legco members

--

--

1

1

3

Legislative council members (ExLeg)

9

12

14

11

5

Specialized knowledge on the issue

22

19

27

24

30

Chinese officials

1

1

1

1

--

Preparatory Comm (dropped Jan 98)

1

1

1

1

--

Political parties & pressure groups

2

2

3

2

4

General public opinion

51

53

47

53

47

Don't Know

11

10

5

6

10

There has been little diminution of belief that there are media which can fairly or objectively reflect different opinions in society, despite perceptions of loss of rights by a significant group and of changes in the political culture by a majority.

Table 42. Is there now a TV or radio programme, newspaper or magazine which can fairly or objectively reflect different opinions in society?

July 96

Feb 97

June 97

Jan 1998

Many

13

16

14

14

Some

45

51

48

43

A Few

17

16

15

21

None

16

11

17

15

Don't Know

9

7

7

8

However, while objective media sources appear available to most people, there has been some drop in how many feel they know a fair extent about policies the government is making which affects them. People do sense some loss of information they need.

 

Table 43. To what extent do you think that you know the policies which the government is making that are related to your livelihood?

June 1997

January 1998

Not at all

10

11

A small extent

44

53

A fair extent

40

31

A great deal

5

4

Don't Know

1

1

 

Participation in NGOs and Civil Society in Hong Kong

Another area of Hong Kong's political culture which differentiates it from mainland China are its non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including businesses. Researchers have remarked on Hong Kong's number, flexibility, and diversity of networks, and how quickly new groups can form and mobilize activities. Since so many of these associations are economically market oriented and market driven, it is as natural as a duck in water for Hong Kong people to form political market oriented and driven groups. Only colonial restrictions on party activities, constant Special Branch intimidation, and traumatic experiences of the far different "politics" in the mainland forced Hong Kong people to develop alternative forms of political expression, and to develop a false consciousness in which politics became unduly narrowly defined and denied, even while many engaged in efforts to influence government to act or not act in many areas of daily life (such as in housing, where 47% of the population live in government subsidized housing and nearly everyone engages in property speculation which is driven up or down in value by government policies).

The official Register of societies under the Societies Ordinance currently lists 8,086 separate associations which may be categorized as follows:

Type of Association Number of groups

Union

85

Professional Association

264

Kaifong and Owners Co-operatives

540

Clan Associations

118

Pressure and lobby groups

97

Political groups

7

Charity and social service groups

639

Recreational

4,714

Religious bodies

363

Area Committees

52

Trade associations and business chambers

304

Student unions and student associations

238

Educational and alumni associations

665

TOTAL

8086

 

When the 291,000 "businesses" are compared with the just over 8,000 registered societies, the proportion of civil associations NOT classified as business looks paltry. However, this number does not include thousands of civil associations, even most of the political parties, which register as companies, not societies. For example, while only 85 unions are on the register, the Registrar of Trade Unions lists 535 employees' unions, 25 employers' associations and 17 mixed associations with a total membership of 375,400. Similarly, while 363 religious groups are on the societies register, there are over 600 Buddhist and Taoists temples, over 1,200 Protestant churches with 380,000 "baptized Protestants," 3 religiously affiliated post-secondary colleges, 131 Protestant secondary schools, 146 primary schools and 233 kindergartens, 13 seminaries and 57 Christian bookshops. The 10 recognized political parties seem to have only about 5,000 members, yet the average turnout at the Tiananmen commemorations has never been less than 30,000. Clearly, social and political organizations are much more numerous than the Register indicates. Most of these groups, economic and non-economic, have a direct political role in the Hong Kong system of functional constituencies, a peculiarity unlike elsewhere. From the above, clearly the non-business aspect of society in Hong Kong is numerous and vigorous. In the surveys of June 1997 and January 1998, the following pattern of membership appeared:

 

 

 

Group

Percentage reporting membership**

(July 97)

(Jan 98)

Trade Union

8

6

Professional association

7

8

Kaifong

3

7

Mutual Aid Committee

8

15

Clan Association

2

3

Political or pressure group

1

1

Charitable Association

6

17

Recreational & cultural group

2

6

Religious group or church

9

20

Area Committee

1

1

**In January 1998 we changed the phrasing of the question from "Do you belong to any of the following groups?" to "Have you attended any meetings or activities of one of the following groups in the last six months?"

Many respondents indicated membership or attendance in multiple groups, but, filtering out such memberships, a third reported belonging to at least one group. In the January survey, using a broader measure of participation, better than 4 out of 10 belong. While this proportion compares to Japan or Mexico according to the World Values Survey, (both report 36%) it fares less well against the US, where 60% belonged to voluntary associations in 1990-91, or to Sweden with 84%. However these numbers, as an indicator of the vigor of civil society, seem dubious. For example, 84% of East Germans reported belonging to a "voluntary" association while 68% of West Germans did. Russia reported a 66% rate, higher than the US, but it is very doubtful that civil society in Russia is stronger than in the US. China reportedly has approximately 500,000 NGOs, apparently including private businesses. Compared to the 300,000 business and non-business NGOs in Hong Kong, China has one association per 2,400 people; Hong Kong one for every 21.6 persons.

 

The China Factor discussed above also had a distorting effect on Hong Kong's political spectrum, which, instead of being a spectrum became a donut of polarized parties, as the diagram below illustrates. With the death of the China Factor, or at least its great diminution, in Hong Kong politics, the elections in May 1998 will occur inside a more normal pro-business versus pro-social program debate. The DP and DAB are at the same point on the scale once the pro-Beijing/pro-democracy stresses lessen the distance.

Legend:

April 5 AG

April Fifth Action Group--Trotskyite street agitators.

ADPL

Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood--Fredrick Fung's social action group seeks conciliation with Beijing while pursuing democracy.

Citizens

Citizens Party--Christine Loh's new party of the center and environment.

CTU

Confederation of Trade Unions--umbrella organization for independent unions neither affiliated with Beijing or Taipei.

DAB

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong--moderate China patriots, main contenders with the Democratic Party. Led by Tsang Yok-Tsing.

Democratic

Democratic Party --merged Meeting Point and United Democrats of Hong Kong to form the largest party, under Martin Lee.

Frontier

Frontier party--coalition seeking rapid democratization, willing to demonstrate fiercely and often to get it. Led by Emily Lau and Lau Chin Shek.

FTU

Federation of Trade Unions--leftist unions, usually fiercely loyal to the party line, yet willing to oppose Beijing's business friends. Aligns with DAB but on business affairs.

HKDF

Hong Kong Democratic Federation--Jimmy McGregor supported this pro-democratic, pro- business organization. It now appears to be becoming a think tank and lobby group.

HKPA

Hong Kong Progressive Alliance--merger of Maria Tam's Liberal Democratic Federation and Hong Kong Progressive Alliance. Hard core supporters of Beijing and business with roots in the rural Heung Yee Kuk.

Liberal

Liberal Party--Led by Allen Lee, while occasionally critical of Beijing, usually seeks accommodation. Business as usual the byword and goal.

TUC

Trades Union Council--shrinking bastion of pro-Taiwan workers.

123 DA

123 Democratic Alliance--pro-Taiwan, pro-democracy and usually more pro-business demonstrators

 

It is within this context that the first elections of the SAR take place in May 1998. In this election, politics will become focused not on constitutional or "foreign" (China) affairs, but on bread and butter issues. They may begin to result in the redefining toward a more normal definition, of what constitutes politics.

The May 1998 Legco Elections

 

Politics is about the distribution by government of resources available to it among competing claims and needs. In this battle, issues, personalities, and ideologies engage in trying to get the government to do, or not do, certain things. To this end, groups mobilize their members to persuade government one way or another. These groups may be political parties, they may be lobby groups, professional groups, or any other organized grouping which decides that its concerns and desires about distributing public resources need to be advanced. This is a pretty basic and common definition of politics among societies with long experience in democratic, pluralistic government. This has only partially been the case in Hong Kong. But here, as elsewhere, politics involves people's concerns. These were, just before reunion with China, the following:

Table 44. Current issues of personal concern (June 1997)

Economic Issues

Social Issues

"Political" Issues

Stable economic growth:

21%

Education:

9%

Corruption:

5%

Affordable housing:

13%

Elderly:

7%

Political stability:

5%

Employment:

9%

Crime:

8%

Freedom of press:

3%

Medical:

2%

Freedom to demonstrate:

2%

Pollution:

1%

Autonomy of Hong Kong:

2%

Fair judges/free to travel:

2%

Total

43

26

19

Today, the concerns are different, and, as this briefing has made clear, the poltiical and economic context within which these concerns will play a role in the elections has changed.

Table 45. Current issues of personal concern (January 1998)

Economic Issues

Social Issues

"Political" Issues

Stable economic growth:

38%

Education:

4%

Corruption:

1%

Affordable housing:

8%

Elderly:

5%

Political stability:

5%

Unemployment:

11%

Crime:

6%

Freedom of press:

2%

Medical:

2%

Freedom to demonstrate:

2%

Pollution:

1%

Autonomy of Hong Kong:

2%

Fair judges/free to travel:

3%

Total

57

18

15

While economic issues ranked high among most in June (even then!), it still didn't concern a majority, but, in January, economics clearly dominate the concerns of a majority.

A majority of Hong Kong people have always doubted the willingness of their government, colonial or not, to listen to them if they disagreed.

Table 46. If many HK people disagree with certain policies of the HK government, (SAR government) do you think they would change or modify those policies? (Two separate questions asked, answers combined below.)

Hong Kong Gov't

SAR Gov't (Prospective) |SAR (in office)

Sept 95

Feb 96

July 96

Feb 97

June 97

Sept 95

Feb 96

July 96

Feb 97

June 97

Jan 98

Yes

15

11

17

11

12

8

6

9

6

8

14

Maybe yes

10

13

14

19

15

11

9

9

15

14

9

Can't say

7

15

13

18

13

9

14

15

16

14

19

Maybe not

8

8

5

13

11

7

7

6

11

9

6

No

52

42

43

36

43

51

47

50

45

47

44

Don't Know

9

11

8

4

6

13

17

11

8

8

8

 

The best the old Hong Kong government could get on this question was 31% combined yes and maybe in July 1996. On the other hand, the SAR government in power is doing a little bit better than people expected, with 14% saying yes it would change or modify policies if Hong Kong people disagreed with certain policies, versus a high of 9% who thought it would before it took power. In combined terms of yes and maybe yes, it's doing just about as expected, and for those saying no, about like the government before it.

Perhaps the lack of changed response to the registration drive is that people can't see that the new government of "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong" is any more responsive than the old one of rule by British and business people.

 

Registration and Voting

A week before registration closed (16 January) 72% said they had registered to vote in the geographic constituencies (not far off the 70% actually registered according to the government at end of the campaign). While the sample has a gender ratio of 54% male and 46% female, those registered to vote have a ratio of 51% male and 49% female. However, only 10% of males are undecided on whether to vote or not while 15% of women are undecided. Gender makes no difference in intentions to vote or decisions not to.

 

Table 47. Age groups: Registered and unregistered proportions

18-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50-59

60-81

total

Not Reg

57

39

28

23

19

24

30

Registered

43

61

72

77

81

76

70

total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

table contents: Percent of Column Total

Chi-square = 26.89 with 5 df p ≤ 0.0001

 

Despite hiring around 30,000 students as ambassadors to conduct voter registration (and spending 70 million Hong Kong dollars in the effort), they (18-19 year olds) are the only age group in which fewer than half (43%) are registered to vote while nearly twice that proportion of people in their 50s (81%) are registered. Rather than door to door, perhaps registration should be conducted school to school. The need to make voting possible for the elderly and disabled, especially if the government wishes to significantly improve election turnout, appears obvious when fully 10% of the registered electorate is 60 and above, and most subject to ill health. Further, concentrating effort on the housing estates, where mostly the elderly live, and in the shopping malls, during working hours, when mostly housewives shop, will have the least effect in increasing registration rates, because, the greatest numbers of unregistered are among the under fifty, and nearly 80% of housewives claim they are registered (see next table).

 

Table 48. Age group makeup of registered and unregistered

18-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50-59

60-81

total

Not Reg

11

31

28

17

6

8

100

Registered

3

21

32

24

10

10

100

total

6

24

31

22

9

9

100

table contents: Percent of Row Total

Chi-square = 26.89 with 5 df p ≤ 0.0001

 

The single largest concentration of registered voters are those in their 30s. Issues important to them, and those in their late 20s and early 40s who have much in common with 30 year olds, form the lion's share of the registered electorate. Elderly care issues, except as they affect families of people in their 30s-40s with older parents, are not vote gettting issues.

 

By occupation teachers have one of the highest rates of registration (83%) but students the lowest (56%, only unemployed at a 50% registration rate are lower in all the occupations. One can only conclude that civic education, effective civic education which not only proclaims responsibility to vote but which provokes action to do so, is failing to take place in Hong Kong schools. 83% of civil servants report they have registered. With 180,000 plus employees, another 30,000 registrants could be secured by merely making each civil servant department head responsible to see a 100% signup to vote.

 

Table 49. Occupations: proportion registered and unregistered

Exec

Prof

AProf

Clerk

Serv-

ice

Craft/

Mach

Elem

House

Retire

Unempl

Student

Teacher

Oth

total

NonReg

28

29

33

26

29

43

36

21

13

50

44

17

39

30

Reg

72

71

67

74

71

57

64

79

87

50

56

83

61

70

total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

table contents: Percent of Row Total

Chi-square = 28.18 with 12 df p = 0.0052

 

Why did 30% fail to register after so much effort?

Some data indicates that the rural New Territory village house dwellers are under-registered (64%), so perhaps encouraging the village committees and the village leaders to exercise more vigour in registration drives might help. Also, renters in private housing blocks are also under the 70% registration rate norm at 57%. Targeting public housing blocs for registration drives simply won't work; the prospective voters aren't there, but elsewhere.

About 6% of the overall potential electorate (or 21%o of the 30% who did not register) reject the system as unfair, unrepresentative or ineffectual. 19% indicated lack of knowledge about the system, the candidates, the parties or politics. About 1 in four didn't give a reason on why they didn't register, but usually these can be redistributed among those who did. Thus perhaps a quarter of the 30%, or 7 to 8% of the total potential electorate, reject the system as unfair. This is lower than the 10 to 15% who rejected participation in elections under the colonial system, but it is still too high.

Table 50. Reasons for not registering to vote

28

No specified reason

9

Don't know who's running

13

No time

1

Unsure about the parties

1

Not understand structure

3

Representatives do not represent me

13

Not interested

7

The system is unfair

3

No use to vote. vote not count

4

Representives are incapable, ineffective

1

Health problem or old

1

Waiting for the ambassador

7

Don't know anything about politics

1

Disappointed by the government

1

Won't be in Hong Kong

4

System not democratic

 

Unemployed, students, craftspeople and machine operators have the lowest proportion of registered voters. The importance of occupation lies in how much of those who actually plan to vote, belong to which group. The unemployed who intend to vote make up only 1%, though about 10% of registered voters mention concern with unemployment. Housewives and clerks, both female dominated, make up fully a third of those planning to vote. Any campaign to get out the vote needs be aware of how those most likely to vote spend their days and make their living, as well as people's concerns.

 

Table 51. Plan to vote: Proportions by occupation

Exec

Prof

AProf

Clerk

Service

Craft/

Mach

Elem

Housewife

Retire

Unempl

Student

Teacher

Othr

total

10

9

7

14

7

10

3

17

9

1

7

3

2

100

 

The bettter than 70% voter registration rate for the geographic constituencies should not deter greater efforts to actually get voters to the polls and shouldn't provide false assurance that Hong Kong's first SAR elections will see a rise in the vote turnout rate. Already, only about 2/3 of registered voters plan to vote. Thirteen percent of the registered say they will not vote and another 16 percent haven't decided yet. Given the confusion about voter issues (see below), the Hong Kong Government should not expect much more than a 40% turnout rate, at best, among the geographic constituencies. In part this is because some 56% of those planning to vote don't know who they will vote for now. Usually, Hong Kong voters turn out for candidates they know, and if they don't know someone, or if someone they know and trust does not ask them to vote, they tend not to vote.

 

There are no significant demographic correlations with those planning or not planning to vote, so no targeting of specific genders, ages, or occupations will encourage turnout. This will be a test of the candidates, the issues they can raise, and in some real sense, a test of the new SAR structures. Already, clearly, there is room for improvement in voter registration and constituency defining, particularly among the functional constituencies.

 

The high proportion of likely voters who did indicate by party who they would vote for is the first time in Hong Kong that people have stated an intent to vote by party group.

 

Table 52. The new Legco election rules require voters to vote for a party or group list. Which party or group would you probably vote for?

N= 449 (Those who plan to vote + undecided)

Group

%

Plan to vote only

Pro-business

-

1

CTU

1

1

FTU

2

2

ADPL

-

-

DAB

3

4

Democrats

22

24

Liberal Party

2

2

Frontier Party

-

1

Independents

3

3

Others

8

9

DK

58

56

The Democratic party starts the campaign with a considerable lead. About one out of four voters (24%) planning to vote stated an intention in early January 1998, just over four months ahead of the elections, to vote for them. The next nearest group is the DAB, but with a committed base of only about 5% of those planning to vote. Given likely turnout, and these proportions, the Democratic party can expect around half the vote, the DAB and allies around 10-15%, and the rest scattered among various other groups. At the moment, neither the Citizens Party nor the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance show up at all in the minds of people as identifiable groups, and the Frontier and ADPL do little better.

When it comes to issues, most people have yet to consistently identify a party with a stance, though again, the Democrats usually fare best in this test.

Table 53. Do you think there is a political party in Hong Kong which stands up best for:

a. Salaried workers Will vote + undecided to vote

Yes Ask: which party

No

DK

32

37

32

Breakdown of 32% answering Yes:

Democrats

CTU

FTU

ADPL

DAB

Liberal

Citizen

Frontier

Unspecified

14

1

2

1

3

2

-

2

7

Yes and no answers had similar levels of planning to vote. However, those who are not clear on whether there is a party which best stands up for salaried workers tend to be less committed to voting. Conviction on this issue, or membership in a party, (it's unclear whether people belong to a party because it does make a strong stand on a given issue or whether they make a strong stand on the issue because they belong to a party) can make a difference as the breakdown of responses to the table above are categorized by those who say they will support Democratic Party candidates or not.

 

Table 54. Is there a party standing best for salaried workers by whether or not favor Democrats

Yes

No

DK

total

Non-DP

28

37

35

100

DP favoured

43

36

22

100

total

32

37

32

100

table contents: Percent of Row Total

Chi-square = 8.975 with 2 df p = 0.0112

 

43% of those plan to vote registrants who favored the Democratic Party answered yes, 36% no, and only 22% (versus 35% of the non-DP inclined) responded they didn't know a party which stood up best for salaried workers.

53b. HK econ. competitiveness Will vote + undecided to vote

Yes Ask: which party

No

DK

21

39

40

Breakdown of 21% answering Yes:

Democrats

CTU

FTU

ADPL

DAB

Liberal

Citizen

Frontier

Unspecified

5

1

1

1

1

6

-

-

6

Connections between party and the issue of economic competitiveness are even fuzzier in Hong Kong potential voter's minds, with barely 1 in five trying to give a party which is best on this issue. The Liberal Party, for whom this is a natural issue, as a party of business, score best out of a poor result.

53c. Human rights in HK Will vote + undecided to vote

Yes Ask: which party

No

DK

48

24

28

Breakdown of 48% answering Yes:

Democrats

CTU

FTU

ADPL

DAB

Liberal

Citizen

Frontier

Unspecified

34

-

-

-

1

2

-

1

10

 

Of those who favored Democratic candidates, fully 74% thought there was a party which was best of human rights (and most named the Democratic party as the party best on the issue).

 

Table 55. Responses on party best on human rights by favor DP or not

Yes

No

DK

total

Non DP

41

27

32

100

DP favored

74

12

14

100

total

48

24

28

100

table contents: Percent of Row Total

Chi-square = 35.08 with 2 df p ≤ 0.0001

 

One might hazard that the Democratic Party has its clearest profile in human rights.

53d. Independent judiciary Will vote + undecided to vote

Yes Ask: which party

No

DK

24

32

44

Breakdown of 24% answering Yes:

Democrats

CTU

FTU

ADPL

DAB

Liberal

Citizen

Frontier

Unspecified

13

-

-

-

1

1

-

-

9

53e. Women's interests Will vote + undecided to vote

Yes Ask: which party

No

DK

19

36

45

Breakdown of 19% answering Yes:

Democrats

CTU

FTU

ADPL

DAB

Liberal

Citizen

Frontier

Unspecified

4

-

-

-

1

2

1

11

This is one issue where signficant correlation between either planning to vote or favoring the DP party is lacking, and thus one issue not captured yet by any party in Hong Kong as its issue. Given the significance of gender gap voting patterns in countries like the US, UK, and in many countries (including Russia, which has a separate women's party), and given Hong Kong's prominent women in politics, including two of whom lead parties (Christine Loh and Emily Lau), lack of a party seizing on this issue appears anomalous. The Citizens party did do best on this issue, finally getting above the 1% barrier. Clearly, there is some significant relationship between the party one favors, and issues. Also, the Democratic Party seems to have a lead in making certain prominent issues its own, and hence, the first party in Hong Kong to begin making the transition from personality oriented and driven (though all parties everywhere are to one degree or another so affected and driven) and issue oriented parties.

The education level of the voting public also has strong effect on laying a base for the development of issue politics. To illustrate the effect education has on forming opinions about political issues, and hence, to drive voter registration, turnout, and party identity, below charts the significant correlation between education and opinion on the issue of whether there is a party which best stands up for human rights in Hong Kong.

 

Table 56. Is there a party which best stands up for human rights in Hong Kong?

0-P-5

6-P grad

7-8/F1-F2

9-10/F3-F4/T1

11-F5 Grad

12-13/F6-F7

14-18/Univ /Grad/PGrad

total

Yes

33

40

56

50

54

39

59

49

No

16

24

22

20

20

36

24

23

DK

51

37

22

30

27

25

17

28

total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

table contents: Percent of Column Total

Chi-square = 29.34 with 12 df p = 0.0035

Formation of an opinion (a yes or no) rests heavily on education, with a majority of those with less than a primary six education saying Don't Know while only 17 % of those with a university education Don't Know.

Lack of knowledge about how the parties stand on various issues also extends to the overall election system. Of those intending to vote and not yet decided to vote:

Table 57. Are you aware of the new election methods for the 1998 Legco elections?

Yes

No

Don't Know

47

51

2

Civil servants claim to be moderately more aware of the new elections methods, with 61% of civil servants responding yes versus 46% of the general population. However, as the responses to the next question show, very few actually have a very strong awareness of even the simpliest part of arrangements for the upcoming elections. The government's job isn't done yet. The testing question was set in multiple choice format.

 

Table 58. Do you know how many geographic constituencies Hong Kong is divided into in the 1998 Lecgo elections?

Number of Constituencies

Percentage of respondents picking number

3

2

4

3

5

18

6

3

7

3

DK

71

With 71% failing even to hazard a guess out of five choices, and only 18% getting the number (5) correct, (38 people from 211 who claimed to be aware and who planned to vote or were undecided) one can only conclude that few people truly know the new arrangements.

Do Hong Kong people support the new electoral system?

Basically, not only do very few Hong Kong people know about the parties, issues, and new rules, they also tend in large number to oppose the new arrangements.

Table 59. Do you support or oppose the use of proportional voting for geographic contituencies?

Strongly oppose

Oppose

Neutral

Support

Strongly Support

DK

11

37

15

23

4

10

48% oppose the use of proportional voting, and only 27% support it. Those favoring the Democratic Party and intending to vote are even more strongly opposed, with 67% against.

Table 60. Support or oppose proportional voting by favor DP

S Oppose

Oppose

Neutral

Support

S support

DK

total

Non DP

7

33

16

27

5

12

100

DP favored

20

47

13

13

2

6

100

total

11

37

15

23

4

10

100

table contents: Percent of Row Total

Chi-square = 17.32 with 5 df p = 0.0039

The case for proportional voting has not been made, and the way it has been introduced has alienated those inclined to support the Democratic party. Curiously enough, the same cannot be said of the Democratic party inclined when it comes to functional constituencies. Overall, 55% support functional constituency elections.

Table 61. Do you support or oppose functional constituencies elections?

Strongly oppose

Oppose

Neutral

Support

Strongly Support

DK

2

16

16

50

5

12

Of those favoring the Democratic party, 52% support, but whereas 18% of the whole group oppose them, 32% of the Democratic inclined likely voters do.

Voters favoring the Democratic Party:

Strongly oppose

Oppose

Neutral

Support

Strongly Support

DK

4

28

9

48

4

8

Overall, there is little knowledge about the system and the parties, weak support for the system of elections as now organized, but growing support for parties. The Democratic Party has a very strong lead in attracting a distinctive group of voters, but it still has a long way to go in making the connection of those who favor it and certain issues it wishes to advance, such as getting rid of functional constituencies.

 

Political and Constitutional Reform

While controversies and discussions on political and constitutional reform have lessened since reunion, there have been a few which have cropped up. One of the issues, also a matter of election arrangements, revolved around selecting delegates to the National People's Congress, China's legislative body, and nominally its most powerful organ of government, though it currently operates more like a rubber stamp than a proper legislature. In five years time, for the next elections, Hong Kong people strongly support directly elections for "their" delegates to the national level. Of yes will vote + undecided to vote:

 

Table 62. Should representatives of HK to the NPC be directly elected by HK residents?

Yes

No

Don't Know

Overall

86

6

8

China born

80

8

12

HK born

88

6

6

Those born in Hong Kong are even more supportive of direct election than those born in China. Even those born in China support such arrangements. Perhaps if the people of China could decide on how to constitute their legislative body, they would choose means not very different from those chosen in the rest of the world.

Another issue arising since 1 July 1997 has been proposals to merge the Urban and Regional Councils, or even abolish the Councils and let the District Boards take over their functions. Unfortunately, only 35% have even heard of such discussions. Of that one in three who have heard, 37% think reform should go ahead, 48% think it should wait, 8% don't want any change and 18% have no views on the issue. Of the kind of reforms which should be taken, 39% favor merging the councils. One in 10 want to abolish them and let District Boards take over, 16% don't want any change, and 26% were unsure what merger meant. Like the election arrangements, Hong Kong people just feel they aren't really getting the information they need. In part, this is the fault of the government, but surely part of the blame must rest with Hong Kong's media.

 

While the Chief Executive won't face an election until 2002, and the procedures for it are already set, the Basic Law stipulates that the ultimate aim is direct election, and also stipulates that the means for the 2007 Executive choice is yet to be determined. Two thirds of Hong Kong people most likely to vote support direct election in 2007.

Table 63. Do you support or oppose the direct election of the Chief Executive in 2007?

Oppose

Neutral

Support

DK

Overall

8

21

64

8

China born

8

22

55

14

HK born

7

20

67

6

An even higher proportion define the concept of "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong" as meaning, ultimately, the direct election of the Chief Executive and their representatives in the Legislative Council. There is little support, and strong opposition, to bringing into Hong Kong the same system of governance as that used in China over the provinces, as the table below makes clear.

 

Table 64. Society has different views about the slogan "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong." How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements? It means: July 1996 (Feb 1997) [Jan 1998]

a. Native HK born government officials administer HK affairs without influence from China's government.

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

No opinion

Agree

Strongly Agree

NA

1 (2) [2]

13 (14) [15]

16 (17) [19]

57 (55) [54]

7 (11) [8]

5 (2) [3]

b. Native HK born government official administers HK affairs with agreement of China's government.

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

No opinion

Agree

Strongly Agree

NA

2 (5) [4]

31 (31) [35]

14 (13) [17]

46 (46) [40]

2 (3) [1]

6 (3) [3]

c. Native HK born government official administers HK affairs based on instructions of China's government.

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

No opinion

Agree

Strongly Agree

NA

5 (12) [5]

45 (40) [41]

14 (14) [19]

30 (30) [30]

1 (2) [2]

6 (2) [4]

d. Hong Kong government official, regardless of background, administers HK affairs with agreement of China's government.

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

No opinion

Agree

Strongly Agree

NA

3 (4) [2]

37 (39) [39]

16 (13) [19]

37 (39) [33]

1 (2) [2]

6 (2) [5]

e. Hong Kong government official with mainland background administer HK affairs.

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

No opinion

Agree

Strongly Agree

NA

8 (12) [6]

49 (52) [51]

15 (13) [18]

21 (20) [20]

1 (1) [4]

7 (2) [4]

f. HK people can directly elect their Chief Executive and Representatives.

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

No opinion

Agree

Strongly Agree

NA

1 (1) [1]

7 (11) [12]

10 (10) [12]

57 (54) [53]

19 (23) [19]

5 (2) [3]

Ultimately, support for a system of government and society, and the payoff for taking the time and trouble to learn about it and particpate in it, rests on whether people feel that participating actually has some effect on their lives and actually makes the government amend its course. The Basic Law implicitly recognizes that fact and provides for its ultimate realization. Colonialism specialized in making its subjects feel helpless; the key to making subjects feel like citizens is to empower them. Hong Kong needs to move toward that high goal sooner rather than later, and 2007 should be set, now, as the time for vigorous steps toward fulfilment of the promises in the Basic Law for direct elections of the offices of leadership and accountability.

Hong Kong's Future and Commitment to Hong Kong

 

The bottom line test for any society and government is whether people want to live in it. The latest results mark a significant change in some of the answers. For the first time a majority of people replied No to whether they would seek means to leave if unsuitable change occured.

Table 65.Would you leave or seek means to leave if changes are unsuitable to you after 1997? (Excludes those planning to leave.)

Phrasing from Jan 1998: If HK is no longer suitable for you, would you seek means to leave HK?

Yes

No

Like to but can't

Don't know

Feb 93

50

35

8

7

Aug 93

43

38

9

10

Feb 94

45

42

6

7

Aug 94

40

44

10

6

Feb 95

41

37

7

8

Sept 95

48

34

8

8

Feb 96

40

40

8

12

July 96

44

39

8

9

Feb 97

45

42

8

5

June 97

41

44

9

6

Jan 98

38

53

4

5

 

While fewer would leave, the main reasons that those who would leave cite are still basically the same, freedom and political stability. Economic reasons still concern about 42%, statistically the same as the 43% who cited such reasons before 1 July 1997.

Table 66. What is the MAJOR change which you would find so unsuitable as to make you seek to leave?

Aug 93

Feb 94

Aug 94

Feb 95

Sept 95

Feb 96

July 96

Feb 97

June 97

Jan 98

Personal standard of living

25

24

21

21

11

11

13

17

16

13

The way of Life (Freedom)

32

37

31

27

21

29

30

21

22

22

Family prospects

3

6

9

5

11

10

12

8

9

7

HK economic prospects

6

7

7

5

17

21

18

21

18

22

HK political stability

25

19

28

35

24

23

16

28

27

23

Corruption

5

3

4

5

Other

6

5

2

0

5

2

2

2

3

4

Don't know

3

2

3

7

7

4

3

0

2

5

We added questions in thelatest survey to further explore the nature of Hong Kong people's comitment to Hong Kong and to China. The questions, and answers below, provide insight into why people might want to stay or leave.

Table 67. From what country would you prefer your children to get their higher education?

UK

EU

US

Aust

Can

Japn

Sing

PRC

HK

Other

DK

9

1

9

2

4

1

1

2

58

2

11

Table 68. From what country would you prefer to have your passport?

UK

EU

US

Aust

Can

Japn

Sing

PRC

HK

Other

DK

5

1

9

3

7

-

1

7

41

5

21

Table 69. In what country would you prefer to live?

UK

EU

US

Aust

Can

Japn

Sing

PRC

HK

Other

DK

3

2

6

3

7

1

1

3

61

1

11

Table 70. In what country would you prefer to retire?

UK

EU

US

Aust

Can

Japn

Sing

PRC

HK

Other

DK

2

1

4

3

8

1

1

8

58

4

10

 

The large difference in preferences for passports indicates that perhaps Hong Kong people still have some uneasiness, but that so many, two thirds, prefer to live, retire, and have their children university educated in Hong Kong or mainland China lays a foundation for Hong Kong's future. This foundation may be improved, but Hong Kong seems far more stable at the beginning of 1998 than anyone thought possible. Its current economic crisis of confidence masks what appear to be long term improvements in political and social commitment and especially in the attitude of much of the public toward its new sovereign.


Footnotes:

1 In Goran Therborn, European Modernity and Beyond (London: Sage, 1995), 307.

2 The EIU "Country Report: China Mongolia," 2nd Quarter 1997 (London: Economist Intelligence unit, 1997), 27, reported some 9,200 limited-liability companies established by 1996. Most the associationa seem to be sports, research, and religious groups.

3 Vivien Pik-Kwan Chan, "Band on Groups foreign funding," South China Morning Post (1st August 1997); Gerald Chan, China and International Organizations, Participation in NGOs Since 1971 (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1989); Lo Shiu-hing, The Politics of Democratization in Hong Kong (London: Macmillan Press, 1997), 137-176.


Policy Suggestions and Implications:

 

1. The SAR government needs to focus on constantly publicizing the details of voting procedures, importance of voting, and positive effects of the election. Senior officials, from Mr. Tung down, need to appear frequently in venues designed to get the message across that these elections are significant for ensuring Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong. Even putting voter information and adverts in with water, electric and other utility bills would help. Every means available needs mobilizing to try to improve turnout.

 

2. Constantly changing constituency boundaries, definitions of who may vote, and processes is unnecessarily confusing and discourages many from registering and voting. Government needs to think ahead how to begin to minimize changes. The ultimate structure of direct election of all seats, constituency boundaries, foreign passport holder restrictions, and proportional representation or not should be addressed well ahead in hopes of establishing a consensus on the way forward.

 

3. Using the Hong Kong identification card and electronic voting needs looking into. How other countries, many with lower per capita income and less endowed with infrastructure, manage electronic votes and simplified registration should be seriously studied, and adopted or adapted.

 

4. Absentee balloting for the ill, infirm, and traveling should be introduced. Many other countries do this routinely.

 

5. Civil servants need training in crisis management and media relations. Open, accountable government means dealing with the media and with crises differently. There are many public relations firms which could provide good training for such eventualities, and Hong Kong officials should be trained to do this as a matter of course. Even the Chief Executive might profit from a little help in this regard.

 

6. Should only Home Affairs and the ICAC be some of the only departments conducting regular surveys of public opinion? Shouldn't every department be working on "customer surveys" as a matter of course, and adjusting its practices based on results? Since these are public departments working with and for the public, such surveys, results, and actions taken should be a matter of routine public disclosure, like the performance pledges and updates issued annually.

 

7. Long term administrative and political reform needs discussion and long term preparation. Having a long term economic development committee is good. Shouldn't the same be done for administration and political reform?

 

8. Infrastructure ties, cross-border coordination, and regional development and issues such as pollution need central coordination and planning. The non-sensical restrictions on border crossings should go; 24 hour access is one efficiency which should be put in place. Perhaps Hong Kong should even look into an eventual merger with Shenzhen, as so many cities, Toronto most recently, have found that region wide consolidation and planning have become not optional, but absolutely necessary for continued growth and prosperity. If Hong Kong had better regional ties into China it might not be so subject to sudden economic shocks like the one it is suffering now.

 

In the year of the tiger, one should think and act boldly. The year of plowing along behind the ox is over.


Briefing written by: Michael E. DeGolyer

Survey analysis: Lo Shiu-hing, Hu Ko-wei, Lo Yuk-ling, M. E. DeGolyer, Janet Lee Scott.

Survey preparation: M.E. DeGolyer, S. H. Lo, K. W. Hu, Janet Lee Scott, Mary Lo Yuk-ling

Survey administrator: Mary Lo Yuk-ling

 

The latest survey was carried out by telephone interviews using the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology CATI (Computer Aided Telephone Interviewing) lab. Details of the sampling methods may be found on the project website. The results of a survey of this sample size, 700, can be assumed with 95% confidence to be subject to a sampling error of not more than plus or minus 4 %. The June 1997 rate was +/-3%, July 1996 error rate is +/- 3.2% and the December 1996 rate is 5%. Following World Association of Public Opinion Research guidelines, all survey results are rounded off to the nearest whole number to avoid the impression of overprecision. Other surveys by the Hong Kong Transition project in this series used the same methods, with varying contact and completion rates.

N=

Nov 91 902

Feb 93 615

Aug 93 609

Feb 94 636

Aug 94 640

Feb 95 647

Aug 95 645

Feb 96 627

July 96 928

Dec 96 326

Feb 97 546

June 97 1,129

Jan 98 700

 

All Figures are in percentages unless otherwise stated

 

All references should be to the Hong Kong Transition Project, which has project members at Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong University, University of Southern Queensland, and George Washington University. The Hong Kong Transition Project is funded via a competitive grant from the Research Grants Council of the University Grants Committee of the Hong Kong Government and is a participating research project with the David C. Lam Institute of East-West Studies. None of the institutions mentioned above is responsible for any of the views expressed herein.

 

Hong Kong Transition Project Contact Numbers:

 

Project Office 2339-5640

Project Director 2339-5644 (2602-8206)

Project Fax 2602-8206

Email address hktp@hkbu.edu.hk

World Wide Web http://www.hkbu.edu/~hktp

 

All media releases, project briefings, current publication list, and occasional updates and special articles are put on the website. Public, media, and government (consulate) briefings are conducted at no charge.