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Hong Kong democracy referendum voting ends

June 29, 2014 6:19 pm

Hong Kong has been voting on the final day of an unofficial referendum on universal suffrage in the Chinese territory.

The 10-day poll was held by protest group Occupy Central, which says almost 800,000 voted online or in person.

A Hong Kong government spokesman has said the vote has no legal standing.

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Campaigners want the former British colony to be able to elect its leader, or the chief executive. China has pledged direct elections by 2017.

However, voters will only have a choice from a list of candidates selected by a nominating committee, and China’s communist authorities have said all candidates must be “patriotic”.

The voting, in polling stations or on the popvote.hk website, began on 20 June. The deadline was originally set at 22 June, but was later extended after what organisers claimed were several cyber attacks on the website.

Popvote.hk was designed by the University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Polytechnic University to measure support for Occupy Central’s campaign.

Chen Jianmin, sociology professor at the University of Hong Kong and one of the founders of Occupy Central, praised the turnout, which was more than 780,000 several hours before polls closed.

“It is very unexpected. It is a very encouraging sign,” he said.

“I believe that people feel that our autonomy has been threatened and is going to be threatened even more by Beijing. People feel outrageous [sic outraged] and so they want to make their voice heard.”

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