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Rise in Chinese identity recognition, but Hong Kong still comes first, survey shows

More Hong Kong people regard themselves as Chinese or citizens of the People’s Republic of China, although their sense of identity as Hongkongers continues to rank first, a survey has found.

Conducted by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI), the survey found that the number of people who identify themselves as “members of the Chinese race” and “Chinese” has reached new highs since 2018, while those who regard themselves as “citizens of the PRC” have also reached their highest levels since 2016.

Meanwhile, the number of people who feel they are “Hongkongers” and “global citizens” have registered record lows since June 2017 and December 2008 respectively.

However, an overwhelming 70% of the respondents still identify themselves as “Hongkongers” in a broad sense (i.e., either as “Hongkongers” or “Hongkongers in China”), and only 29% regard themselves as “Chinese” in a broad sense (i.e., either as “Chinese” or “Chinese in Hong Kong”).

About 42% have opted for a mixed identity of “Hongkongers” and “Chinese” (i.e., either as “Chinese in Hong Kong” or “Hongkongers in China”).

One thousand Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above were interviewed by telephone between May 31 and June 4. PORI, formerly known as the Public Opinion Programme at the University of Hong Kong, has been conducting regular surveys to track the changing sense of identity of Hong Kong people before 1997 when the city was reunited with China.

Yuen Mi-chang, the current affairs commentator, said the results of the latest survey showed that many people with strong sentiments against the mainland authorities had left Hong Kong after the 2019 anti-extradition bill movement and as the local democratic movement weakened.

Those who had opted to stay behind had to adjust their mentality and sense of recognition even though they remained dissatisfied with the political condition, he said. 

Yuen noted that the proportion of respondents in the 18-29 age group who identified themselves as “Hongkongers” had continued to rise since June 2020, reaching 76% in the latest survey.

But only 39% of respondents aged between 30 and 49 and 29% of those aged 50 and above identified themselves as “Hongkongers” first, he said.

Yuen said the findings were revealing, as they suggested that people’s sense of identity would change as they aged and their economic conditions improved, such as after they became homeowners.

《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.


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