Date
25 September 2017
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists are hitting back at comments by Chinese state media belittling an informal referendum on electoral reform. Photo: HKEJ
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists are hitting back at comments by Chinese state media belittling an informal referendum on electoral reform. Photo: HKEJ

China state media mocks Hong Kong referendum

China’s state media on Monday belittled Hong Kong’s unofficial referendum, calling it a game and its pro-democracy organizers unqualified to serve as a political opposition.

In an editorial, Global Times, a tabloid owned by the official People’s Daily newspaper, said the high turnout in the mock exercise is not good news for the central government but it does not compare with China’s 1.3 billion-strong population.

As of 11 p.m. Monday, more than 720,000 people had voted in the referendum organized by civil disobedience movement Occupy Central to gauge public feelings about electoral reform in the run-up to the 2017 chief executive election.

Occupy Central founder Chan Kin-man said the constitutional development of Hong Kong concerns only its seven million people and has no correlation to the mainland population, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday. 

“If a referendum were held in the mainland to decide Hong Kong’s democracy, mainland people would vote for Hong Kong having genuine universal suffrage, setting a good example for the mainland,” Chan said.

Silent Majority, a concern group founded by radio host Robert Chow, said the opinions of those who voted in physical polling stations on Sunday should be considered but online votes should not count. “Online voting figures can be manipulated as much as you like,” he said.

Legislator Ip Kwok-him of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong predicted up to one million voters by the end of the exercise but said it is more of a promotional campaign without any legality.

However, Ip said all kinds of opinions should be respected even if the central government has already mapped out Hong Kong’s political future.

Political commentator Johnny Lau said the Global Times editorial is only the first in a series of propaganda by the central government to undermine Occupy Central.

Any such move by Beijing will only fuel anger among Hong Kong people, the report said.

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