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Study Finds Half of Hong Kong Youth Want to Live Elsewhere


Pro-independence demonstrators march during an annual New Year protest in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Study Finds Half of Hong Kong Youth Want to Live Elsewhere
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A new study has found that about half of Hong Kong’s young people would choose to live somewhere else if given the chance.

The public opinion study was carried out last month by Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies.

It found that overall, 34 percent of people in Hong Kong said they would choose to leave the territory to live elsewhere. More than 16 percent reported they had already begun making preparations to leave Hong Kong.

The group with the most people who said they want to leave Hong Kong was between the ages of 18-30. Fifty-one percent of this group said they would want to leave if given the chance. This compared to just 21 percent of people over age 50.

The study found that nearly 48 percent of people with a college degree or higher said they would rather live somewhere else.

About 25 percent of those questioned said growing political and social tensions in Hong Kong were major reasons they would seek to leave. Another 17 percent said they were "dissatisfied with the political institutions."

In this Nov. 26, 2014 file photo, police officers block pro-democracy protesters in the Mong Kok district during the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
In this Nov. 26, 2014 file photo, police officers block pro-democracy protesters in the Mong Kok district during the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

The most popular country people said they would like to move to was Canada, chosen by 19 percent of those questioned. Eighteen percent said Australia and 11 percent said Taiwan.

More than a third of those hoping to leave Hong Kong said they were seeking more living space. Twenty-two percent hoped for better air quality and less pollution.

About 15 percent said they were in search of "more liberty” and better human rights.

Andrew Shum is a member of the Hong Kong-based human rights group Civil Rights Observer. He says one of the main reasons people want to leave Hong Kong is the government's failure to permit fully democratic elections.

"People's demand for universal suffrage has yet to be realized," Shum said. "We had thought we were going to get a basic system that respected the choice of citizens through free and fair elections." Shum added that hopes for more democratic changes in Hong Kong had “collapsed” for many people.

In 2014, parts of Hong Kong were shut down during 79 days of demonstrations held to protest Chinese plans to restrict fully free elections in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong government considered the demonstrations illegal and moved to end them.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Pan Jiaqing reported this story for Radio Free Asia’s Cantonese Service. It was translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

institution n. large and important organization

liberty n. the freedom to live, work and travel as you desire

suffrage n. the right to vote in an election

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