Hong Kong life totters as Family Wellbeing Index reflects downward trend

Families in Hong Kong, a former British colony and currently a part of China, are witnessing a downward trend as far as the well-being of the families is concerned

Families in Hong Kong, a former British colony and currently a part of China, are witnessing a downward trend as far as the well-being of the families is concerned.

This is evident from a recent survey conducted by the Hong Kong Family Wellbeing Society (HKFWS).

As per the latest “Hong Kong Family Wellbeing Index (HKFWI)”, the region ranks 6.06 (out of 10).

The region has been declining in the list since 2019, a year before the world was hit by COVID-19 pandemic which is believed by a section of experts to have originated from China.

Teresa Cheung Wing-shan, senior manager of the HKFWS, said that the drop in the latest overall score is less significant than the last survey in 2022. She believes that it is now time to return to normal after the pandemic, but it will take time to accomplish that, reported The Epoch Times.

This was the third survey performed by the group between January 2 and 23 during which the HKFWS conducted random sampling telephone interviews with the respondents.

The group successfully interviewed through fixed lines and mobile phones around 2,014 Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above living with their families.

The first survey was conducted during the anti-extradition movement from July to August 2019, and the results were published in 2020. At that time, the index score was 6.3, the publication reported.

The second survey was conducted before the peak of the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2022, and the result was 6.1. The latest index published this year dropped slightly to 6.06, and nearly half of the respondents said they felt their FWI is just “average,” which is more or less the same as the 2022 survey.

The dark phase of the situation in Hong Kong was evident from the survey where the number of respondents declaring “worse” in their replies continued to go up.

The survey found that the FWI among younger people is still significantly lower and continues to decline. The 18- to 29-year-old group has the lowest score in all the past three surveys, with the latest score at only 5.85. The 50- to 59-year-old group has seen the largest drop since the 2019 survey, from about 6.6 in 2019 to 5.98 this year, reported the newspaper.

 In its recommendation, the group said the government should focus resources on providing appropriate services for the needs of “elderly single caregivers.”

The HKFWS also recommends that the government build more family-oriented community facilities, leisure, and public spaces to enhance families’ participation in society and their sense of belonging. In addition, the government should provide more avenues for people to participate in social affairs. It is recommended that the government conduct surveys and research to have a more thorough understanding of the obstacles and challenges faced by families while participating in and contributing to society, The Epoch Times reported.

The relationship between China and Hong Kong has declined over the years since the region was handed over to Beijing in 1997. But in the past few years it went from bad to worse.

In 2019, a controversial extradition bill triggered protests and Hong Kong became a defining conflict zone for mainland China.

These protests were the biggest witnessed by Hong Kong so far.

Crowds went down to the streets of the region to peacefully oppose what they described as Beijing’s interference and called for true universal suffrage.

Soon, street clashes with the police became the order of the day with law enforcing authorities using firebombs, tear gas and water cannons to silence the protesters.

According to BBC, the sweeping new national security law outlawed anything seen as “secession” or “subversion” of Beijing’s power, effectively curbing dissent.

Taking a hard stance, Beijing also introduced “patriots” electoral reforms that ensured only those deemed loyal to Beijing could run for Hong Kong’s parliament and chief executive position.

A large section of experts believe China has succeeded in tightening its grip on the city during the tenure of President Xi Jinping.

But recent polls show some of the lowest scores for Hongkongers identifying as Chinese citizens since handover, reported BBC.

The question still remains after so many years whether China has moved closer to Hong Kong or the life of the city has become more uncertain since its handover in 1997 from British rulers.

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