17 years after returning to the mainland, Hongkongers still don’t identify themselves as Chinese citizens.
Between Dec. 10 to 16, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) did a survey to find out which of six ethnic identities — “Hongkongers,” “Asians,” “members of the Chinese race,” “global citizens,” “Chinese,” and “citizens of PRC” — Hong Kong citizens most associated with.
1,016 Hong Kong citizens were polled via a random telephone survey and asked to rate their feelings towards the identities on a scale of 0 to 100. Of the six categories, “citizens of PRC” scored lowest at 54.4 marks, followed by “Chinese” at 62 marks. “Hongkongers” came out tops with 79.5 marks.
HKU noted that the “citizens of PRC,” “Chinese,” and “members of the Chinese race” identity scores hit an all-time low since the poll started in 2008.
When HKU asked those polled to place themselves in broader categories, the results carried over. 42 percent saw themselves as “Hongkongers,” 24 percent as “Hongkongers in China,” while a mere 18 percent considered themselves as “Chinese” and 15 percent as “Chinese in Hong Kong.”
Perhaps with the recently ended Umbrella Movement protests in mind, Robert Chung, the director of HKU’s Public Opinion programme, noted: “History has already proved that POP’s surveys on Hong Kong people’s ethnic identity have a warning effect, with a reference value not diminished by political oppressions.”
Hong Kong current affairs commentator Lau Yiu-siu believes that the survey results reflects Hongkongers’ dissatisfaction with the Chinese regime’s policies concerning Hong Kong, a special administrative region with a high degree of autonomy to govern its own affairs.
According to a Chinese language Epoch Times report, Lau says that Hongkongers are strengthening their identity and don’t want to be labelled “Chinese” because they’re suspicious of Beijing’s unwillingness to grant universal suffrage for Hong Kong elections and perceived abandonment of the “one country, two systems” principle.
Curiously, the latest HKU poll on the public’s trust and confidence revealed that Hongkongers’ faith in the Beijing and Hong Kong government, as well as the “one country, two systems” policy actually increased .
In a survey of 1,014 Hongkongers between Dec. 15 to Dec. 18, 37 percent trust the Hong Kong government while 33 percent trust the Beijing government, up 1 and 3 percent from November.
Confidence in “one country, two systems” also went up 8 percent from the previous month, standing at 46 percent.