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Support for year-long pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong has slipped, now getting the backing of a slim majority at 51% from the previous 58%, as the city braces for the imposition of Beijing-drafted national security legislation, a survey conducted for Reuters showed.

Protests escalated last June over a since-withdrawn bill that would have allowed extraditions of defendants to mainland China. They later morphed into a push for greater democracy, often involving violent clashes with the police. The protests have resumed, but with far fewer participants, since China announced plans for the security law, which has alarmed foreign governments and democracy activists in Hong Kong.

The survey conducted by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute between June 15 and 18 showed the legislation is opposed by a majority in the financial center but the poll also showed support for protests dropping to 51% from 58% in a previous poll conducted in March, while opposition to them rose to 34% from 28%, wrote Carol Mang and Yanni Chow for Reuters early on June 26, 2020.

“It may be psychological, because Hong Kong people see Beijing is getting more hardline,” said Ming Sing, associate professor of social sciences at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “If you keep insisting (on the demands) it’s impractical.”  The shift in backing for the protests has occurred mainly at the extremes, with those who strongly support them dropping to 34% from 40% and those who strongly oppose them rising to 28% from 21%. The number of those who “somewhat” support or oppose the protests remained stable.

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