Date
11 December 2017
Voting underway at a poll station during an unofficial referendum on democratic reforms in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ
Voting underway at a poll station during an unofficial referendum on democratic reforms in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ

Over 700,000 vote in HK civil referendum on electoral reforms

The mock referendum organized by the Occupy Central Movement saw 48,000 people casting votes at the 15 polling stations on Sunday, the first day of physical voting, Ming Pao News reported Monday.

Along with online voting, more than 700,000 people are said to have participated as of the end of Sunday in the unofficial referendum on electoral reforms in Hong Kong.

Robert Chung, director of Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong, said the PopVote system can handle up to 1.6 million voters.

Ivan Choy, political scientist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said as the mock referendum will run until June 29, there could be a bigger turnout at the July 1 rally if the government fails to respond properly.

Founder of the Occupy Central movement Benny Tai believes the public could take more drastic action if the calls for universal suffrage are not heeded by the government.

A physical voting station will be set up at the campus of the City University of Hong Kong this week, while at least ten stations will be available on June 29, the last day of the mock referendum exercise.

Tai urged Hong Kong people to participate actively in the July 1 protest, in order to put pressure on the government.

Authorities had to withdraw the Article 23 national security law after half a million people took to the street in 2003, while the controversial national education policy was also shelved after a public protest in 2012, Tai noted.

Secretary of Justice Rimsky Yuen said on Sunday that the vote has no legality and basis, but the government respects people’s right to express their views.

Former legislator Martin Lee said people have voted even though they know the exercise is not legally binding. It is a reflection of the depth of feelings and the craving for universal suffrage, he said. The government would be blind if it fails to see the implications, Lee added.

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