Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Growing Local Patriotism

Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, director of the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme is going to get into trouble with mainland officials again.

His latest survey finds Hong Kongers' mistrust of the central government is at its highest level since May 1997.

Of 1,003 respondents, 37 percent -- up 3 percent from March -- distrusted Beijing, compared with 44 percent in May 1997.

The rise, explained Dixon Sing Ming, a political scientist at the University of Science and Technology, said "the rein on human rights has tightened since the ending of the Chinese Olympics" and "the issue of [the treatment of dissident] Liu Xiaobo, echoed by other cases, has created intense disappointment and worry among Hong Kong people."

Chung said the high level of mistrust was "probably due to the incidents of [disgraced Chongqing party boss] Bo Xilai, [blind activist] Chen Guangcheng and [the recent suspicious death of Tiananmen activist] Li Wangyang".

"The case of Bo also shows that the China model is unhealthy, given the risk of corruption and political instability had Bo become a top leader," Sing said. "The results show Hong Kong people have an impression that the Communist Party is intolerant of dissent and is willing to resort to high-handed repression [to silence its critics]. The intolerance and repression are a world apart from Hong Kong people's core values."

In addition the survey also found 53 percent of respondents were confident in the future of Hong Kong, compared to 58 percent in March.

We're now taking cover to avoid being in the crossfire when Hao Tiechuan of the Central Liaison Office responds to these latest findings. Last December he blasted Chung for his survey as being "unscientific" and "illogical" because the professor's survey found locals' sense of being "Hong Kong people" was at a 10-year high.

And now with the 15th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong days away, we're not surprised to see people connecting their identity to the city even more.

With Cantonese and traditional characters under attack, residents treated as second-class citizens in its own shops and restaurants, Hong Kong people want to take back their city.

Wonder what Hao has to say to that.

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