China patriotism soars in Hong Kong ahead of Olympics

May 26th, 2008 - 9:17 am ICT by admin  

Hong Kong, May 26 (DPA) Pro-China sentiment in Hong Kong has risen sharply ahead of the Beijing Olympics, with 55 percent of people in the territory considering themselves Chinese compared to 28 percent who see themselves as Hong Kongers, according to a survey Monday. The findings of the survey of more than 1,100 people showed a sharp upswing from the fewer than 22 percent of respondents who said they considered themselves Chinese in a similar poll conducted in November.

The Olympic torch relay May 2 through Hong Kong and sympathy towards victims of the devastating Sichuan earthquake earlier this month have boosted patriotic sentiment in the city of 6.9 million people, said researchers at the Chinese University who conducted the survey.

Hong Kong, which reverted to Chinese rule under a “one country, two systems” arrangement in 1997, has been the scene of anti-China protests in the past over lack of democracy and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

The former British colony has grown politically closer to China in recent years, however, with demands for universal suffrage, which brought 500,000 demonstrators to the streets in 2003, gradually dying out as economic prosperity has increased.

Separately, a study by the Hong Kong government’s Central Policy Unit found that more than half of the city’s people disapproved of human-rights protests staged by some demonstrators during the Olympic torch relay May 2 in Hong Kong.

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