Hongkongers aren’t as supportive of the protests as they were before: Reuters poll

Protesters march against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong on May 24, 2019. Photo via Unsplash/Joseph Chan
Protesters march against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong on May 24, 2019. Photo via Unsplash/Joseph Chan

Fewer people support Hong Kong’s anti-government protests and think authorities should accede to the movement’s demands compared to before, according to the results of a Reuters poll published Friday.

The questionnaire, conducted by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute for the news agency, surveyed around 1,000 people between June 15 to 18. 

Photo via Reuters

Around one-third of respondents said they “very much support” the protest movement, a drop from over 40% last December. Those who “very much oppose” the movement grew from 24% to 28% in the same time frame.

The neutral camp—those who answered “half’-half” and “don’t know/hard to say”—did not appear to change their views significantly.

(Photo via Reuters)
Photo via Reuters

A question gauging the sentiment of respondents to each of the movement’s five demands also found that support has waned. Besides the call for universal suffrage, all others saw a drop in the number of respondents who think authorities should give in. Just 66% said they think the government should set up an independent commission of inquiry, one of the protestors’ key demands—down from 74% last December.

Read more: 98% of Hong Kong journalists disapprove of national security law: Survey

The results of the survey are a reflection of events on the ground. Protests, which began last year over a controversial extradition bill, seem to have lost significant steam. This time last year, large-scale rallies were held every few days, drawing thousands of people each time.

Demonstrations largely came to a halt earlier this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But while local transmission has eased significantly and the city appears to have flattened the virus curve, protesters are yet to come out in the crowds that they did last year.

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Posted by Stand News 立場新聞 on Sunday, June 21, 2020

The quicker mobilization of police, protest fatigue and fears of a retroactive crackdown once Beijing passes the national security law all factor into why protests have plateaued.

Police are also not approving marches or rallies due to a gathering restriction, which up till last week banned gatherings larger than eight. The regulation has since been loosened to allow groups up to 50, but it looks unlikely that public events will be given the green light anytime soon—applications for marches on June 28 and July 1 were shot down Friday.

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