Hongkongers favoring Taiwan independence now outnumber those who don’t

Number of Hong Kong people confident in cross-strait unification dropped to less than 20%

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Former president Chen Shui-bian's son Chen Chih-chung with Taiwan Independence flag on Yushan. (Facebook photo)

Former president Chen Shui-bian's son Chen Chih-chung with Taiwan Independence flag on Yushan. (Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The number of people in Hong Kong who support Taiwan independence has surpassed those who oppose the idea, according to the latest survey by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI).

Regarding the “Opinion on Independence of Taiwan,” 47.8 percent of respondents said they agree, while 38.6 percent said they disagree. It marked the first time since the poll was first carried out in 1933 that Hongkongers favoring an independent Taiwan have outnumbered those who don’t.

On “Confidence on Cross-Strait Unification,” 19.4 percent are confident, while 72.1 percent are not. As for the applicability of "one country, two systems" to Taiwan," only 21.2 percent believe it to be applicable versus 66.3 percent who think otherwise.

The results reflected a significant change among Hong Kong residents about their attitude towards Taiwan issue due to the months-long anti-government protests, said Public Opinion Research Institute Director Robert Chung (鍾庭耀).

Leung Kai-chi (梁啟智), a part-time lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong's School of Journalism and Communication, reckoned that “Chinese identity” among Hongkongers has dwindled since 2008, when up to 80 percent opposed the notion of Taiwan independence. “When will the Beijing government reflect upon itself and admit it has done things wrong over the past years?” he asked.

The research, which was based on 1,011 valid samples, was conducted between Jan. 3 and 8, prior to Taiwan’s general elections last Saturday. It had a confidence level of 95 percent with a margin of error of plus or minor 4 percentage points.