Around one-sixth of Hong Kong’s population support the city becoming an independent entity after 2047, according to a survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The poll conducted by the Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey of the university’s school of journalism and communication found that nearly 40 per cent of respondents aged between 15 and 24 supported Hong Kong independence.

Professor Paul Lee Siu-nam of the school said the government should pay attention to those who support independence.

hong kong independence
Photo: Dan Garrett.

A total of 1,010 Cantonese speaking Hong Kong residents were randomly sampled by phone from July 6 to 15, 2016. The survey respondents were aged 15 or above, with 3.5 per cent aged between 15 and 17. The centre said their inclusion did not affect the results significantly.

Regarding the prospect of Hong Kong after 2047, survey participants were asked to state “support,” “not support” or “so-so” on three hypothetical scenarios of Hong Kong’s future.

“Maintenance of One Country Two Systems” received 69.6 per cent of support, “Independence” received 17.4 per cent of support and “Direct governance by China” received 13.8 per cent of support.

There was an 8.1 per cent drop in the agreement with the belief that activities demanding political reforms in Hong Kong should be peaceful and non-violent from last year, down to 71.3 per cent, while 5.9 per cent of respondents disagree with this belief.

Louis Leung, a professor of the school, said that 15.5 per cent of respondents between the age of 15 to 24 disagreed with the belief that activities demanding political reforms in Hong Kong should be peaceful and non-violent – an increase from the previous year’s figure which was lower than 10 per cent.

Paul Lee Siu-nam
Paul Lee Siu-nam. Photo: Stand News.

Paul Lee said young Hong Kong people may have a different culture than the previous generations and the culture on the mainland, reported RTHK.

“They may think it is impossible to fight for democracy using peaceful means; they will naturally think, why should we be with you [China] together?” he said.

He added that Hong Kong is a diverse society and people need to listen to different voices, in order to avoid violent protests.

But 81.2 per cent of respondents stated that the possibility for Hong Kong to attain independence in the future is “not possible,” while 3.6 per cent stated that it is “possible.”

Survey participants were asked to rate six social values from the scale of zero to ten, with zero being “very unimportant” and ten being “very important.”

The mean scores for each value were respectively 8.84 for judicial independence, 8.57 for social harmony, 8.49 for press freedom, 8.26 for economic development, 7.61 for democratic development and 7.07 for national interest.

Respondents were also asked to rate their impression on three political camps on the scale of zero to ten, with zero being “very negative” and ten being “very positive.” The results were respectively 4.53 for pan-democratic camp, 4.00 for pro-establishment camp, and 3.45 for localist camp.

Gene Lin is a Journalism and Computer Science student at The University of Hong Kong. He worked as a reporter for the 'LIVE: Verified Updates' during the Occupy Central protests. He is also an editor at HKU's first English-language student paper, The Lion Post.