A pro-Beijing group said it has collected 1.21 million signatures in support of the government’s political reform proposal.
The figure represents nearly a quarter of all eligible voters, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday, citing the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD).
But convenor Robert Chow would not comment if the number is good enough, merely saying the turnout rate in the nine-day effort was “basically quite good”.
Last year, APD gathered 1.8 million signatures against the Occupy Central movement.
Wong Kwan-yu, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, which helped organize the new initiative, said the result reflects the opinion of the silent majority.
However, he said the number is not “absolutely large”, adding he had expected four million signatures.
Chow dismissed accusations APD used children to bump up the numbers after photos emerged showing campaign volunteers asking them for their signatures.
He said he will only discount one signature — that of a primary school student who was reported to have been coaxed into signing the petition by Executive Councilor Fanny Law.
Chow also challenged the authenticity of the photos.
The result, which outstrips the 800,000 votes for establishment candidates in the last election, shows they are capable of mounting a stronger performance in the upcoming district and legislative polls, Chow said.
Meanwhile, state news agency Xinhua said in a commentary that the tide of public opinion “cannot be reversed” and lawmakers must accept it.
It said most Hong Kong people want them to make the right historical choice, referring to an upcoming vote on the proposal in the legislature.
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