Veteran pollsters from the Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI) vowed on Friday to keep offering a platform for Hongkongers to express their views and provide critical commentaries, despite rapid changes to what they called a “degrading society”.
PORI had its servers seized by police last July, after it helped conduct the pro-democracy camp's primaries for the cancelled 2020 Legislative Council polls.
Although none of PORI's staff were arrested, authorities allege those who participated in the primaries of violating the national security law.
The institute's chair and chief executive, Robert Chung, said that while he understands why some people are leaving Hong Kong, he has no plans to do so himself.
Chung also said he has no intention of stepping aside as a pollster, which has been his job for more than three decades – first at the University of Hong Kong, and now at PORI.
"If I leave and vacate this position at this moment, I would probably be sending a very bad signal to the Hong Kong people, that we're not here to face the challenges or to continue doing what we think to be correct," Chung told reporters at a press conference marking PORI's second anniversary next week.
He reiterated that he's done nothing illegal or wrong, although he understands that Hong Kong's system might have already changed.
His deputy, Chung Kim-wah, said the mere fact that they are taking questions as to whether they will stop polling, shows how much Hong Kong has changed.
"When we said that we're sticking to the principle of democracy, we're using a scientific approach to dig out information and [showing] what people have in mind, this is also becoming dangerous in our society nowadays," he said.
"But I think the government has to answer why our society has become such a society.... That is not our responsibility."
Chung Kim-wah said no matter what, the polls will keep coming so long as that's what Hongkongers want to see, that PORI's finances are fine, and that there's no political interference or persecution.
Robert Chung said his IT colleagues have stepped up cyber security after the police's seizure of their servers. They have also cut down the storage of tapes of phone interviews by half.
He said PORI is moving out of its Wan Chai office because the owner has other plans for the space, and it has nothing to do with politics or money.
Pollsters vow to keep doing 'what's right for HK'
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