Recently, the Washington Post reported on a survey of racial tolerance, in which people of different countries/regions were asked if they could tolerate having neighbours of other races. The Daily Mail called Hong Kong the “most racist“, as the data shows that 71.8% of Hong Kong people don’t want to have neighbours of different races. Fortunately, redditor cf18 found that the result of the survey was mistranslated – 71.8% of Hongkongers are willing to have neighbours of different origins.
The original data: http://www.wvsevsdb.com/wvs/WVSDocumentation.jsp?Idioma=I (2005-2008 wave-> WVS Hong Kong 2005)
The original Chinese survey (p. 88)
Translation of the original Chinese survey:
The followings are some people of different backgrounds. Which kinds of people you are not willing to have as neighbours ? (show card)
Willing Unwilling a. People with criminal records 1 2 b. People of different races 1 2 c. Heavy drinkers 1 2 d. Emotionally unstable people 1 2 e. Foreigners who work in Hong Kong 1 2 f. People who have AIDS 1 2 g. Drug Addicts 1 2 h. Mainland Chinese immigrants 1 2 i. Homosexuals 1 2 j. People who have radical political stances 1 2
- The translated survey left out the options “1″ (willing) and “2″ (unwilling), which are on the original one. Also, “1″ and “2″ were strangely translated into “mention” and “not mention” in the result respectively.
- As for the result, 1 has 71.8% and 2 has 26.8%. That means 71.8% Hong Kong people are willing to have neighbours of different races.
Bangladeshi data has also been found to have the same problem: http://sites.tufts.edu/inclusivecommerceblog/2013/05/16/surveys-gone-bad-when-yes-means-no/
Thanks to our Legislative Council member Charles Mok for contacting the WaPo reporter. I had sent the reporter two tweets but to no avail. Therefore, I contacted Mr Mok. Five hours late, the correction was up.
Certainly, the correction doesn’t mean that discrimination against Southeast and South Asians is less serious in Hong Kong.