Hong Kong people’s affinity towards their own people has dropped to a record low, the University of Hong Kong Public Opinion Programme (HKUPOP) found.

Around 1,000 Hongkongers were interviewed via phone in each half of the two-part survey conducted in November. In the first stage, respondents were asked to name up to ten regions or countries that they know best outside of the four cross-strait regions of Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan and Macau. The most frequently mentioned places were found to be the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France and Singapore. The second stage of the survey involved respondents rating the governments and peoples in the cross-strait regions as well as the other 12 most mentioned countries and regions.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: Gov HK.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: Gov HK.

The survey found that in general, Hongkongers feel much more positively about regular citizens than they do about governments. Hongkongers’ affinity for their own people has dropped to the lowest since the commencement of the survey in 2007, being at a net value of 29%. The survey said that this “is another indicator of society’s polarization.” As for the other cross-strait regions, the net value of Hong Kong people’s affinity towards people in the mainland, Taiwan, and Macau is at 2%, 55% and 44% respectively. They also view the SAR government and the mainland government negatively, with the values being at -8% and -5%.

Another finding is that Hong Kong people appear to dislike the governments of Japan, Thailand, Russia, the United States and Malaysia, with the net values being at -29%, -14 %, -9%, -8% and -1% respectively. However, Hong Kong people’s affinity towards the German and French governments, as well as French and Russian people, all reached positive figures which are at their new highs since 2007.

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Commemoration in Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park. Photo: Dan Garrett.

In order to allow readers to take note of the factors that could have potentially affected the polling figures, HKUPOP also listed significant events that took place since the last survey in its “Opinion Daily” section . Included on the list of events are the tie in the Hong Kong-China World Cup qualifying match, the terrorist attacks in Paris, Xi Jinping’s state visit to the United States, the Japan WWII surrender anniversary celebrations, the bomb explosion in Bangkok, and the Greek bailout.

Frank Lee, Research Manager of HKUPOP, said: “Our survey only covers regions and countries best known to Hong Kong people. Hong Kong people may well like or dislike other places much more, but because they are not the most well-known places, they do not appear on the list by design.”

HKUPOP previously conducted other surveys, such as the ratings of political groups and parties, and the media climate in Hong Kong.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.