Hong Kong pollster flees city and expresses alarm over collapse of free speech

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Hong Kong psephologist Chung Kim-wah fled the city for the UK due to threats “from powerful forces” and “provocation from the government every day” on Sunday.

The deputy executive director of the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (Pori) said he had no choice but to “live abroad for a while” after considering several factors.

Mr Chung raised concerns over the erosion of freedom of speech in the city following the implementation of the draconian national security law.

China’s communist government has been accused of using the sweeping law to criminalise free speech and throttle dissent.

“In the current Hong Kong, there is no room for sincere words, only lies ... Hong Kong may no longer be a place to live without intimidation,” Mr Chung wrote on Facebook.

He is among several pro-democracy activists and scholars who have left the former British colony in recent months due to the government’s crackdown on free speech and arbitrary arrests.

“I am angry at the constant intimidation and oppression of many seniors and people of the same generation,” he added. “I feel sad and helpless for many younger generations who are imprisoned for daring to fight for it. For the new generation in Hong Kong, they can only be indoctrinated without being able to know the truth or make multiple perspectives."

In his lengthy post, he said: “To be distorted like maggots, or to see the absurdity of distorted reality as normal, would be very painful for me. Therefore, after balancing the factors and considerations, we had to take this decision as a last resort (sic).”

Mr Chung will continue to hold onto his post until the end of April when his contract ends, Robert Chung, president and chief executive officer of Pori told the Hong Kong Free Press.

Mr Chung’s announcement came just two days after he appeared at a Pori news conference regarding a poll into public awareness on cannabis products.

The critic of the Hong Kong administration was detained for questioning in January 2021 after police raided the Pori office for its alleged involvement with an “unofficial” primary election.

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