Survey shows major generational divide over ‘one country, two systems’

Flickr/Etan Liam

Young people and older generations are increasingly divided on Hong Kong’s political future, according to a new survey.

The think tank Path to Democracy — which assesses public opinion on “one country, two systems” every 6 months — polled over 1,000 individuals ages 18 and older during May and June 2018.

The results indicated that overall, Hongkongers’ perception of “one country, two systems” — the framework which underpins Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy from China’s central government — has improved. However, the group found “big and widening” differences in public opinion across age.

Older respondents generally scored “one country, two systems” better than younger respondents. While the three younger age groups (18-29, 30-39, and 40-49) rate Hong Kong’s political system worse now than in 2017, two older age groups (50-59 and 60-69) now rate it better.

Researchers called the polarization “a very serious problem.”

Respondents also gave “freedom of speech” — which is supposed to be protected in Hong Kong’s Basic Law — lower scores this time around. The study suggested that two May 2018 incidents in which mainland police beat up Hong Kong reporters could have contributed to the decline.

Growing worry over censorship and press freedom was one of a multitude of reasons protesters said they took to the streets on July 1.

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