A majority of British Columbians are following the continuing crisis in Hong Kong, based on a new survey this month by Research Co.
According to the findings, 53% of respondents said they have followed the protests against the extradition law in Hong Kong “very closely” or “moderately closely.”
Specifically, 81% of those who were born in, have lived in, or have travelled to Hong Kong are more likely to be paying attention to the unrest. For those who have no ties to the region, the proportion following the crisis is halved.
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There is concern that the escalating crisis could lead to a mass migration of Hong Kong residents to BC; 49% are worried many Hong Kong residents will relocate to Canada’s westernmost province, including 52% of those aged 35 to 54, 51% of Metro Vancouver residents, and 61% of Fraser Valley residents.
When it comes to whether the Canadian government should take foreign affairs action, 39% believe Ottawa should support Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters, while 34% would prefer the federal government to stay clear of the crisis.
A small minority support Beijing; 6% of respondents want the Canadian government to support the Chinese government.
Older British Columbians, aged 55 and over, are more likely to want Ottawa to do nothing (45%). In contrast, this proportion falls for younger generations (29% for aged 35 to 54; 25% for aged 18 to 34).
With the roads that were historically taken in 1997, a majority of BC residents (62%) believe Hong Kong would be in a better position today if it had remained a British colony, including 68% for those who have ties to Hong Kong, 72% for those aged 55 and over, and 59% among Metro Vancouver residents.
Hong Kong is now entering its sixteenth week of unrest, which began in June as protests against the extradition law and has now grown into a much broader pro-democracy movement.
The controversial extradition law was officially withdrawn last month, but protests continue, with the leaderless movement calling for the fulfillment of other demands, including an independent inquiry on police brutality, release of protesters, retract the characterization of the protests as “riots,” and universal suffrage and the resignation of the city’s leader, Carrie Lam.
Recent demonstrations have turned particularly violent and become highly disruptive to the city’s economy and transportation infrastructure.
With no end in sight to the unrest, a decision was made last week to cancel Hong Kong’s major China National Day fireworks in Victoria Harbour on October 1, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party-governed People’s Republic of China.
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