Hong Kong individuals against nationwide safety legislation: Reuters survey


A majority of individuals in Hong Kong are against China’s plan to impose a nationwide safety legislation within the territory, saying the laws undermines the “one country, two systems” framework beneath which town is ruled and can restrict town’s current rights and freedoms, in line with a survey commissioned by Reuters.

The survey, performed by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute between June 15 and 18, confirmed the laws is opposed by 57 p.c of individuals within the territory. Some 49 p.c mentioned they have been “strongly opposed” to the legislation.

The ballot was performed when Beijing had introduced its intention to introduce the laws in opposition to terrorism, subversion, separatism and overseas interference however few particulars have been identified.

While the draft of the brand new legislation is but to be finalised, key options of the laws have since been launched, revealing that Communist Party authorities in Beijing can have overarching powers over its enforcement, together with closing interpretation rights.

Support for the laws added as much as 34 p.c, with the remaining detached or undecided.

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“I object to the law because the [Beijing] government is interfering in Hong Kong‘s enterprise,” 29-year-old engineer Charles Lo, 29, who participated within the survey, instructed Reuters. “It will also suppress our freedom of speech and hinder the democracy movement.”

Protest help dips

The ballot additionally discovered that help for the pro-democracy protests that started a yr in the past had slipped, though a majority of the inhabitants continued to again the motion.

Protests escalated final June when tens of millions marched via the streets over a now-withdrawn invoice that might have allowed individuals to be extradited to mainland China for trial. As the protests continued, they developed right into a name for higher democracy, involving generally violent clashes with the police.

The demonstrations calmed this yr as town battled COVID-19, which restricted gatherings. While protests have resumed because the invoice was introduced, far fewer individuals have taken half. 

The ballot confirmed help for the protests at 51 p.c, in contrast with 58 p.c when Reuters performed its final ballot in March. Opposition rose to 34 p.c from 28 p.c.

“It could also be psychological, as a result of Hong Kong people see Beijing is getting more hardline,” mentioned Ming Sing, affiliate professor of social sciences at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

“If you keep insisting [on the demands], it’s impractical.”

Most demonstrations in current weeks have been attended solely by a couple of hundred individuals and have ended rapidly. Police, citing coronavirus restrictions, haven’t given permission for rallies and have arrested giant numbers of those that have turned up.

Hong Kong safety legislation: Growing unease about China’s laws

The shift in backing for the protests has occurred primarily on the extremes, with those that strongly help them dropping to 34 p.c from 40 p.c and people who strongly oppose them rising to 28 p.c from 21 p.c. The variety of those that “somewhat” help or oppose the protests remained steady.

Security legislation looms

The explicit calls for of the motion have additionally seen a drop in help. The request for an impartial fee of inquiry to look into how police dealt with the demonstrations noticed a 10-percentage-point drop from March to 66 p.c.

Universal suffrage, one other key demand, had the backing of 61 p.c of individuals, down from 68 p.c. The resignation of Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam was supported by 57 p.c in contrast with 63 p.c three months in the past.

Opposition to the calls for rose to 21 p.c from 15 p.c.

Samson Yuen, assistant professor within the political science division at Lingnan University, mentioned help for the protesters’ calls for was “still high” however may have dropped as a result of the safety legislation had overtaken the protests as the principle matter in public debate.

“Who would still talk about [protest] demands when the national security law is coming?” Yuen requested.

Lam’s workplace and China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, which comes beneath the State Council, or cupboard, didn’t reply to requests for remark.

China offers go-ahead for safety legal guidelines in Hong Kong

The nationwide safety legislation has raised fears that Beijing is additional eroding in depth autonomy promised to the territory when the United Kingdom handed it again to China beneath the “one country, two systems” method in 1997.

Question of belief

Hong Kong and Beijing authorities have repeatedly mentioned the laws would solely goal a small variety of “troublemakers”, whereas rights and freedoms can be preserved. They say it’s going to carry stability to a metropolis rattled by the protests.

“Before June final yr, I did not suppose Hong Kong needed national security laws because we were so peaceful and safe, but now I think it’s necessary,” mentioned one other survey respondent, Hui, a retiree in her 50s.

KK Leung, a 49-year-old ship upkeep officer, disagreed.

“I don’t trust Chinese laws,” Leung mentioned. “Our freedom of speech will be affected if the law is implemented. I wouldn’t dare say ‘Down with the Communist Party’ or ‘Carrie Lam, step down’ in protests like I do now.”

The ballot additionally confirmed that help for the thought of Hong Kong independence, which is anathema to Beijing and is anticipated to be a focus within the looming laws, remained comparatively unchanged at 21 p.c. Opposition to the thought grew to 60 p.c from 56 p.c.

For the ballot, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 proportion factors, 1,002 respondents have been randomly surveyed by phone. The outcomes have been weighted in line with the most recent inhabitants figures.