There's currently a lot of controversy in the media over China expanding their influence over Hong Kong:

Long before the Umbrella Movement or last year's sustained political unrest, this reputation was cemented in 2003, when mass marches against a proposed anti-sedition law known as Article 23 succeeded in forcing the government to shelve the legislation. In the 17 years since, despite promises to do so and much prodding from Beijing, no Hong Kong administration has dared restart this process.

This week, Beijing's patience ran out. On the back of more than six months of often violent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year, the National People's Congress (NPC), China's rubber-stamp parliament, put forward plans to introduce a national security and anti-sedition law on the city's behalf, bypassing Hong Kong's legislature via a rarely used constitutional backdoor.

However it seems strange that many people still have a vision of Hong Kong being an independent entity, despite de facto being under the full control of its parent. If anything, its strange that China even bothered maintaining an independent government in Hong Kong for so long, instead of taking over the reigns shortly after 1997. Likewise it was surprising that China tolerated mass protests in Hong Kong for more than a year, rather that swiftly crushing them using their nigh-unlimited supply of armed policemen.

Are there any polls available from 1997 showing the opinion of Hong Kong residents on the future of their country? Did they expect that China would swiftly take over or did they actually believe that China will maintain the "one country, two systems" rule for as long as it promised?

  • 4
    Does it matter? It's not like there was a referendum and the HK population voted for a "two systems" solution. Why not ask how many in the UK believed that was the case (since the decision to "hand over" HK was made in the UK)?
    – Fizz
    May 24, 2020 at 1:06
  • 2
    @Fizz it matters because it will help me understand if the current reaction to the takeover is legitimate or not. To me it's a complete nothingburger - in fact China NOT taking the reigns immediately is the surprising aspect. May 28, 2020 at 17:41
  • The U.K has already stated they don't consider the U.N's office of human rights legally binding (in case of Assange). So why would they think this deal with China over Hong Kong is? Jun 3, 2020 at 9:36

1 Answer 1


I find some polls conducted by the University of Hong Kong. They are now available here.

One poll asks "Do you trust the Beijing central government". In 1997, fourteen days after the return, the answer was neutral, with only 1% difference between both sides.

The poll is surprising to me.

  • Before 1997, the response is no.
  • From 1997 to 2011, Hong Kong people did trust Beijing, especially during the Olympics.
  • As expected, the response is quite negative in recent two years.
  • 1
    So basically pre-1997 HK knew full well what was coming and 2020 HK is faking their surprise. Great answer. May 31, 2020 at 20:10
  • @JonathanReez Well, the poll doesn't say much about the new national security law, but the Basic Law (Article 23 and Article 45) requires Hong Kong to legislate on national issue as well as the universal suffrage on its own. There are always sentiments against passing a national security law, and they grow exceptionally stronger since last year. Jun 1, 2020 at 3:29
  • That law is just a piece of paper. In reality everyone knew that HK independence is a done deal since 1997, but somehow we pretend that we didn't. Jun 1, 2020 at 3:59
  • I don't see the issue. According to the U.S constitution, the American military can't be used against their own people. Yet there's a law that allows Trump to do just that. Most people don't care, they just want the riots to end. Which is also true in Hong Kong. Jun 3, 2020 at 9:39

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