As a political group, Hong Kong Federation of Students are the public's favourite

As a political group, Hong Kong Federation of Students are the public's favourite

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(From left) HKFS's General Secretary Eason Chung, Council member Yvonne Leung,Council member Nathan Law, Deputy Lester Shum and Secretary-general Alex Chow speak to crowd in Admiralty
(From left) HKFS's General Secretary Eason Chung, Council member Yvonne Leung,Council member Nathan Law, Deputy Lester Shum and Secretary-general Alex Chow speak to crowd in Admiralty
Photo: Sam Tsang/SCMP

Hong Kong Federation of Students is the city’s most popular political group, according to a poll, underlining public support for the pro-democracy protests the students have led for six weeks.

The group of university students made the top 10 list for the first time and led all organisations with a rating of 47.7 out of 100, according to a survey conducted between Oct. 20 and 23 by the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme. The scores for five political parties, including both pro- government and pro-democracy groups, fell to record lows as politicians struggled to offer a solution.

"All political groups have become losers" because of the protests, Robert Chung Ting-yiu, director of the survey program, said in a statement.

Student leaders are seeking to meet Chinese leaders in Beijing after talks with the Hong Kong government failed to resolve the city’s biggest political crisis since its return to China in 1997. While crowds at the protest sites have dwindled to hundreds from a peak of 200,000 people, the polls indicate continued support for the protesters seeking free elections for the city’s chief executive in 2017.

The scores for the other political groups in the survey were all below 43, with the popularity of the Federation of Trade Unions, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Civic Party and the Democratic Party all falling to lows.


Leadership Election

The trade-union federation and the DAB have backed China on its stance to vet candidates for the city’s first-ever leadership election through a nominating committee. The other three parties have supported the protesters. Secondary school student activist group Scholarism, which is also participating in the protests, came fifth with a 41 point score.

The student federation came into the fore of the democracy debate when it organized a week of class boycotts and marches in September, culminating in its leaders getting arrested for storming the premise of the government headquarters.

Public support surged after the police used tear gas in a failed attempt to disperse the protesters, spurring tens of thousands of people to take to the streets.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying today urged protesters to give up the occupation so as not hinder the city’s development. Leung plans to go to Beijing later this week to get a start date for a stock-market link with Shanghai.

"As we fight for the stock-market link and Hong Kong’s development as an international financial center, we need cooperation from the whole society to restore social order," Leung said.

The HKU Public Opinion Programe said it interviewed 1,018 people in its latest poll, with a sampling error of not more than plus or minus 2.8 at 95 percent confidence level.

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