Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Democracy is Dead in Hong Kong – Yes 61%

It is said that the canary in the coalmine of democracy is the pollsters. When they disappear, the air of freedom is gone. Robert Chung, the famous independent pollster in Hong Kong, has been arrested. Chung’s institute, the POP, or now Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (HKPORI), had just published a poll in which one question was: “Is Hong Kong still a free city?” – 61% no, which no doubt interested China’s security services.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy group were trying to hold a primary to select their candidates for the upcoming legislative elections, maybe the last in Hong Kong’s brief 22-year independent history, the so-called “one country, two systems.”

The new China security law allows Chinese security forces and courts to arrest and punish Hong Kong residents (and non-permanent residents) for acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. Acts that can be easily applied to advocating democracy or independence, criticizing Beijing or Beijing local leadership, and demonstrating or communicating any of these ideas or actions.

Chung taught and directed polling at the University of Hong Kong from 1991 until May 2019 when he formed an independent polling institute. He is an active member and leader of the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR). They have in the past had to activate their worldwide membership to defend him from interference from the local government. This is a much more serious breach of China’s basic rights and far more ominous to free expression in Hong Kong.

Robert Chung, center, president and chief executive of the
Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute, at a news conference
in Hong Kong a year ago | Joyce Zhou/Reuters

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