Guest Post: Finding the figures unconvincing, Evan Fowler highlights how the relationship between organisers, HKUPOP and police figures have changed since 2005, asking readers to consider his personal experience on the day in making an estimate of how many people took part.
The figures for yesterday’s pro-democracy march are out. According to the organiser, the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), 510,000 people were counted; Hong Kong University’s Public Opinion Programme (POP) team counted 162,000; whilst the police put the figure at 92,000.
How are these figures derived? Two are counted – CHRF and POP deploy teams to count numbers at various locations along the route, with the CHRF taking an average and HKUPOP employing a flow rate method to calculate the numbers between two points. The police figure is only an estimate based on “how crowded the protest area appears”. The protest area is, one should note, an area that the police themselves define and regulate.
Analysing the counts since 2005 the CHRF figure is consistently the highest, and the police estimate (and lets call it an estimate as it makes no claim to be a count) always the lowest. What is curious however is that the police figures tend to be far less as both a percentage of the CHRF and POP figures the larger the demonstration.
Via @gzdxxd on Twitter