Youth distrust Hong Kong handover

February 2, 1996

Hong Kong's young people are expecting a bleak future under Chinese rule and have little confidence in the current British administration, an academic survey has found.

The telephone survey of 1,660 youths aged between 15 and 24, carried out by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, concluded that most youngsters are either pessimistic or cynical about the prospects for the territory after it is returned to China in 1997.

The findings also highlighted the distrust of the territory's young people in the present bureaucracy, with nearly 40 per cent of respondents suggesting politicians' actions were motivated by self-interest.

The study, lead by Timothy Wong, research officer for the institute, aimed to gauge civic awareness, attitudes and political participation among young people.

In the "attitudes" section of the survey, respondents were asked to share their views on Hong Kong's current leaders, the general ability of civil servants, the political reality of the territory, and the impending transfer of sovereignty.

"They responded rather negatively to six out of eight questions," said Dr Wong.

"They said 'yes' to the questions: 'Should all people aged 18 have the right to vote', and: 'Is work one of the most important means for people to change undesirable political realities?'" "But they were rather pessimistic with regard to social and political realities as a whole."

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