Robert Chung

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Robert Chung

Dr. Robert Chung (鍾庭耀) is the Director of Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong.

Study and career[edit]

Dr Chung graduated from Diocesan Boys' School. He obtained his bachelor's degree, Master of Philosophy in Sociology and PhD Degree from The University of Hong Kong. His fields of research interest include electoral studies, political culture, public opinion, rural politics, mobility studies, media performance, youth culture and tradition in modernity.

He joined the Social Sciences Research Centre of the University of Hong Kong when it was established in 1987. In 1991, he set up the POP within the centre and began to study the development of public opinion in Hong Kong. To match the development of the university, Dr. Chung and his POP team was transferred to the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the university on 1 May 2000, and then back to the Faculty of Social Sciences on 1 January 2002.

The programme regularly conducts independent surveys, covers media development, and launches electoral studies, policy issues, and youth studies. Under his leadership, the propgramme is famous for being impartial and professional, and is a highly respected public opinion study programme in the region. Its studies are widely covered in mass media and frequently cited in academic publications.

Dr Chung has written numerous articles on public opinion and social surveys published in various journals and periodicals, and is the Chief Editor of the monthly POP newsletters, POP Express, and the HKU POP Site.

Besides, Dr Chung is a Panelist of Television Programme Advisory Panel of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) and a Panelist of the Television Programme Appreciation Index Research Panel. From 1993 to 1994, Dr Chung served as a part-time community panelist of the Central Policy Unit of the Hong Kong Government. He then became a part-time member of the Central Policy Unit between 1994 and 1999. Between 1997 and 2003, he served as a member of the Community Research Sub-committee of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Community Relations of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), and between 1998 and 2003, as a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Community Relations.

Internationally, he has been the Hong Kong representative at the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) for a number of years. From 2006 to 2008, Dr Chung was the elected Secretary-Treasurer of WAPOR. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Public Opinion Research.

Issues concerning academic freedom[edit]

In the summer of 2000, he sparked a controversy over the alleged government interference of his Public Opinion Programme. He alleged that he had received political pressure from Chief Executive of Hong Kong Tung Chee-hwa through Vice-Chancellor Prof Cheng Yiu-chung and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Wong Siu-lun to discontinue his public opinion polls on Tung and his government.[1]

Although the allegations were denied by Tung and HKU, a controversy erupted over the question of political interference in academic freedom. HKU set up a three-member panel led by Justice Noel Power to investigate Chung's claims. After 11 days of open hearings in August, the panel concluded that there were what it called "covert attempts" to pressure Chung into discontinuing his polls. The panel concluded that Dr. Chung is "an honest witness who was telling the truth in relation to the matters he is complaining about", but "neither Lo [The Chief Executive's Senior Special Assistant] nor the vice chancellor disclosed the full and truthful extent of what was said in [the] meetings". The saga ended with the resignation of the Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong - Prof. Cheng Yiu-chung and Prof. Wong Siu-lun just before the University Council met on 9 September to vote on whether or not to accept the panel's report. At the end, Dr Chung's Public Opinion Programme continues to function and is growing from strength to strength in the years subsequent to that crisis, and becoming arguably the most authoritative source of public opinion information and assessment in Hong Kong.

Hall education[edit]

Besides his academic study, Dr Chung is also a firm supporter on Hall Education. Living in St. John's College of the University during his undergraduate and postgraduate study, he later became the residential tutor in Old Hall and Swire Hall. He has been the Warden of R. C. Lee Hall since 1992. Although he said that he had learned a lot from St. John's College, he thinks, apart from the traditional hall education in the University, which primarily advocates collectivism, focuses on inter-hall competition and creates greater social pressure among residents, there are other possible ways to conduct education in halls. Such belief is reflected by the past and current Motto of R. C. Lee Hall, respectively Hall with a Mission and Liberty with Responsibility, Unity in Diversity.


Dr. Chung is also very keen on sports. While field hockey is his favourite sport, he was once an enthusiast about track and field, swimming, softball, volleyball and windsurfing. Besides the above-mentioned, he participated in cricket, lacross, tennis, squash, and badminton Interall-Hall competition in the University as well. He was once the coach of the University Hockey team, while currently he coaches the hockey team of his hall. He also participates in the amateur league organized by the Hong Kong Hockey Association.

In addition to sports, astronomy is also Dr. Chung's interest.


  1. ^ Landler, Mark (7 September 2000). "In Sharp Debate on Freedoms, Top Hong Kong Educators Resign". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 

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