Hong Kong people’s confidence in the idea of the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement being applied to Taiwan is at a record low, according to a survey by the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme (HKUPOP).

The survey – conducted regularly since 1996 – found that 29 per cent of interviewees believed that the model for Hong Kong’s autonomy was applicable to Taiwan, whilst 59 per cent believed it was not applicable. The net value, calculated by deducting the latter from the former, stood at negative 30 per cent, representing a 16 per cent drop compared to the last survey conducted in August last year.

Photo: HKUPOP.

HKUPOP interviewed around 500 people by random telephone survey between January 7 and 11.

The drop in confidence in “One Country, Two Systems” came after a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month on Taiwan-related issues. Xi said that the reunification of Taiwan was “inevitable” and that it would most likely occur under a “One Country, Two Systems” model, like that of Hong Kong’s. Xi added that China would not rule out using military force.

The survey revealed that 28 per cent of Hong Kong people interviewed were confident in the ultimate reunification of the island, whilst 60 per cent expressed no confidence. The net confidence stood at negative 33 percentage points, representing a drop of 11 percentage points since the last survey.

Photo: Taiwan Gov’t.

“People continue to be pessimistic about cross-strait reunification,” wrote Senior Data Analyst at HKUPOP Edward Tai in an analysis.

The poll also found that 50 per cent of those surveyed opposed independence for Taiwan, whereas 35 per cent supported it. Meanwhile, 54 per cent of interviewees supported Taiwan’s bid to rejoin the United Nations, while 29 per cent opposed the move. The net values of the two results – achieved by deducting the opposition rate from the support rate – only changed slightly when compared to the last survey in August 2018.

Xi Jinping. File photo: China Media Project.

“In general, although Hong Kong people object to the independence of Taiwan, they continue to support giving Taiwan more international space,” Tai wrote.

The survey also asked about Tibetan issues. 58 per cent of Hong Kong people interviewed opposed the independence of Tibet whereas 19 per cent showed support, with net support at negative 39 percentage points. The net support value set a record, 19-year high.

“Further analysis shows that the older the people, the more likely they [will] object to Taiwan and Tibet’s independence, while the younger the people, the more pessimistic they are about cross-strait reunification,” Tai wrote.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.