Hong Kong youths turn their backs on Chinese identity - survey

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By Venus WuHONG KONG, June 20 (Reuters) - Only 3.1 percent of Hong Kong
youths identify themselves as "Chinese" or "broadly Chinese", a
historic low, as the former British colony prepares to celebrate
the 20th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule, a poll
released on Tuesday suggests.
    The Hong Kong University survey polled 120 youths between
the ages of 18 and 29.
    The Asian financial hub, which has been rocked by youth-led
protests demanding democracy in recent years, has been governed
under a "one country, two systems" agreement that guaranteed a
high degree of autonomy after Britain handed sovereignty back to
China on July 1, 1997.
    When the regular half-yearly survey started in 1997, 31
percent of youths identified themselves as "Chinese in a broad
sense", and 16 percent said they were "Chinese".
    The latest results showed that 93.7 percent of youths see
themselves broadly as a "Hong Kongers", compared to 68 percent
in 1997.
    In a wider survey that interviewed just above 1,000 people
of all age groups, about 63 percent of respondents said they
were broadly "Hong Kongers" while about 35 percent said they
were broadly Chinese.
    Those numbers are similar to the 1997 results.
    Many Chinese officials have in recent months expressed
concern over Hong Kong youths' reluctance to embrace a Chinese
    Among them, China's No 3 official, Zhang Dejiang, who also
oversees Hong Kong affairs, stressed the need for strengthening
national education.

GRAPHIC: Hong Kong public opinion    http://tmsnrt.rs/299O0cu
 (Editing by Nick Macfie)
 ((Venus.Wu@thomsonreuters.com; +85228478039;))


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