World

HK survey shows increasing majority back pro-democracy goals

HONG KONG: A growing majority of people in Hong Kong support the pro-democracy movement's goals after China introduced a national security law for the city, but backing for the protest movement has dropped to 44 per cent, a survey conducted for Reuters showed.

Demonstrations have been far fewer and smaller than the mass protests that rocked the city in the second half of last year, largely because of coronavirus-related restrictions on gatherings and the impact of the sweeping new law, analysts say.

The survey taken by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute was the first since the law was passed on June 30. It found nearly 60 per cent of people were opposed to the security law, up from about 57 per cent in the institute's previous survey in June, when few of the details were known.

Mr Ivan Choy, senior lecturer at Chinese University of Hong Kong's department of government and public administration, said that public attitudes shifted after the new security law was implemented.

"Now there are more concerns when you ask people to come out" to protest, he said, adding that police arrests have triggered "more anger in society". The police said they had arrested 25 people, as of Aug 20.

The survey found public support for the law was slightly more than 31 per cent.

Critics say the legislation further eroded the wide-ranging freedoms promised to the former British colony on its return to Chinese rule in 1997.

The latest survey asked: How much do you support or oppose the pro-democracy protest movement? The responses showed support at about 44 per cent.

The question replaced one in the June survey that asked: How much do you support or oppose the protest movement surrounding the extradition Bill? The responses showed support at about 51 per cent.

The changes were made because the extradition Bill has faded as an issue as it has been withdrawn. - REUTERS

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