HONG KONG (Reuters) - A majority of people in Hong Kong oppose Beijing’s move to implement national security legislation in the semi-autonomous city, but support for year-long pro-democracy protests is waning, according to a survey conducted for Reuters.
Reuters commissioned the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute to conduct the poll on public sentiment amid the city’s worst political crisis in decades and Beijing’s move to implement national security legislation.
Of the 1,002 people surveyed, 150 were given the option to share contact details with Reuters. Reuters interviewed 10. Some did not want their full name published.
PAT CHAN, 57, REAL ESTATE AGENT
“I support the national security law because every country has one. Hong Kong is part of China. Many people oppose it because they think the law targets the (democracy) movement.
“I do have some concerns though ... the party leaders in China clearly do not respect ‘Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong’.
“I support the movement and the students. I am a peaceful protester.”
HANNA WONG, 39, WORKS FOR AN NGO
“The national security legislation has a deterrent effect on the movement. They should do more consultation before imposing the law. The details are unclear.
“I am neutral about the protests. I was fine with their peaceful actions at first, but since September, they have become too violent.
“With the national security law, we are losing some of the freedom we took for granted, because of their violent actions. I used to vote for the democrats, but for the upcoming election, I may need to rethink.
“Hong Kong is too small for independence, we do not have resources, we have to rely on China.”
HUI, IN HER 50S, RETIRED
“Before June last year, I didn’t think Hong Kong needed national security laws because we were so peaceful and safe, but now I think it’s necessary. The law can help to stabilize society.
TONE SHIU, 49, WORK IN ADVERTISING
“I oppose the national security law. I would be worried about my safety, like would I be arrested out of the blue? Would Hong Kong become more like the mainland? I am also worried about U.S. sanctions on China, which would hurt Hong Kong’s economy.
“I support the movement. I only participated in legal rallies. People think protesters are violent, I think they are reasonable. We were protesting through civilised marching at the start of this movement, but the government turned a blind eye.
“Although some democrats are all talk and no action, I still support them over the pro-Beijing camp.”
CHARLES LO, 29, ENGINEER
“I object to the law because the (central) government is interfering in Hong Kong’s business. It will also suppress our freedom of speech and hinder the movement.
“I support the (protesters’) demands but there is little chance they will be met.”
POLLY WONG, IN HER 40s, HOUSEWIFE
“The national security law is a violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and judicial independence in Hong Kong. I guess we will all need to watch our mouths and even posting on Facebook could be dangerous. I am very worried about my child and the education he would get.
“I didn’t think Hong Kong independence was necessary before since we had judicial independence and everything was in the ‘one country, two systems’ framework. But maybe it really is the only way out. But I don’t think it would be possible actually.”
WONG, 40, WORKS IN MULTINATIONAL COMPANY
“The national security law can bring stability to our society and economy. I am not afraid because I will never break the law.
“I lean slightly towards to pro-Beijing camp. I think many democrats are unreasonable. They keep objecting to everything without a positive proposal and solution.”
WONG, IN HER 40S, TEACHER
“Issues in Hong Kong should be handled by Hong Kong people. But the government officials now do not uphold the ‘one country, two systems’ principle, they won’t help to secure our rights.
“All I can say is we are helpless.
“I don’t think the movement has cooled down, our passion never faded, but with this suppression it’s so difficult to keep the protests going.”
SETH LEE, 35, CIVIL ENGINEER
“On paper the law is meant to protect national security, but actually it is a way to legalise the restriction of rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people.
“The protests of course did affect my daily life, but the pursuit of justice, truth and balance of power comes before that.
“Hong Kong needs independence now, because China has no democracy.”
K.K. LEUNG, 49, SHIP MAINTAINER
“I don’t trust Chinese laws.”
“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.
“I am considering emigration for my two children.”
Reporting by Carol Mang and Yanni Chow; Editing by Kim Coghill
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.