Ninety-two per cent of young people have called for the creation of a youth council with "real powers" so they can have a bigger say in government policy, a new survey shows. They also want district councillors to host more seminars and forums on current affairs so young people can voice their views.
The Alliance for Children Development Rights interviewed 1,470 members of the Hong Kong Federation of Students and allied groups last month on their views on Hong Kong's district administration. The respondents were aged between 15 and 30. On a scale of one to 10, they gave themselves an average score of only 3.7 on their understanding of the operations of district councils.
A total of 86.8 per cent said they had not taken part in any activity organised by district councils or councillors in the past year. Some 48 per cent said they wanted councillors to hold more seminars and forums to collect their views on social affairs.
Vanessa Cheung Wing-kei, a student from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said there should be a youth council with "real power". "Young people are full of energy and motivation. They are a driving force to make government policymaking faster; I'm disappointed with the slow and inefficient Legislative Council," said Vanessa.
Sha Tin College student and Young Post junior reporter Joshua Lee, 17, offered a different solution.
"I don't think setting up a youth council similar to a district council will raise concerns about us. I think a youth representative in the Legislative Council will be more effective so young people could also influence policymaking, and their voice can be fairly represented," said Joshua. "So, it would be good to set a minimum age of 18 for people who want a seat in the city's legislature."
The survey also found that some 54 per cent of respondents think the voting age should be lowered to 16.