• Wed
  • Jul 23, 2014
  • Updated: 7:59am
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

700,000 votes cast in Occupy Central poll, but ballot 'still not credible'

Many voters said they had turned out to the polls due to Beijing's white paper on Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 June, 2014, 11:59am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 5:16pm

More than 700,000 ballots have been cast in an unofficial poll on Hong Kong's electoral reform that a former top mainland official in charge of the city's affairs dismissed yesterday as unrepresentative.

The turnout for the Occupy Central "referendum" was well above expectations, believed to be fuelled by a public backlash against Beijing's reassertion of its sovereignty over the city in a white paper two weeks ago.

But Chen Zuoer, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office from 1998 to 2008, said in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post the exercise was not a frank indicator of how residents wanted to elect their chief executive in 2017.

Chen also insisted that, as all three proposals shortlisted for the poll violated the Basic Law, it was illegal.

"The media have reported that there are dishonest elements during the process of conducting the public vote, which will result in its failure to truly reflect public opinion," he said, without elaborating on those claims.

What the Occupy Central referendum asks voters

Chen's comments are sure to rile pro-democracy activists, already stung by the white paper, which critics see as a heavy-handed attempt by Beijing to quash support for Occupy Central, the civil movement advocating a democratic election in 2017.

The Occupy poll lists three reform plans, all of which want the public to be able to nominate candidates - an idea Beijing rejects.

About half of 207 voters surveyed yesterday pointed to the white paper as a reason they took part, the Post found in a mini-poll. But the main driving force was a demand for "genuine" universal suffrage - as cited by 90 per cent of the respondents.

Bank manager Lam Chi-ko said he would not have taken part, had the State Council not issued the white paper. "Occupy Central will affect the finance industry. I have been drafting contingency operation plans for my company," Lam said. "But ... there are so many differences between the white paper and the Basic Law, it is like overturning everything."

Our voice must be heard, say voters in unofficial Occupy Central referendum

At the Causeway Bay polling station, a 68-year-old retired teacher said she was merely fulfilling her responsibility to vote, adding: "If I don't come out and make my voice heard today, when should I do it?"

Alex Tsang Chun-kai said it was the white paper that provoked him. "I have seldom taken part in protests, but what drives me this time is really the white paper, which says something like judges should serve the government like a political tool," he said. "Judicial independence can never be compromised."

Ryan Kwok, a 25-year-old social worker, said he had made his way to the poll station in person as he feared that a cyberattack on the online polling platform may have affected his vote.

"I feel more safe if I come along and cast the ballot inside the box, " Kwok said.

State mouthpiece invokes 'defeat of Iron Lady' in editorial denouncing Occupy's public poll

He said the content of the recent white paper has enraged him and made him more determined to vote as a gesture to voice his discontent against the government.

Another voter, who referred to herself as Mrs Ng, said she was a middle-class woman who had not been concerned about politics - until the recent release of Beijing's white paper.

"The mainland government is meddling too much in local affairs, " she said. "This is outragous."

Cheng, a 40 year-old banker who visited the poll with his wife and seven-year-old son, said he wanted to educate his son to be concerned about current affairs.

"It is time for the next generation to know what is happening, as this will affect their future," said Cheung, who preferred to give only his surname.

Members of the pro-government Caring Hong Kong Power gathered at the same station to urge people not to vote in the "illegal" referendum.

Occupy co-organiser Benny Tai Yiu-ting said Chen should beware of dismissing the poll as unlawful. "He will have to bear the responsibility if he misjudges [public sentiment] and gives Beijing the wrong advice," Tai said.

But Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said the voting could "be regarded as no more than an expression of opinion by the public".

The poll started on the internet on Friday. By midnight, the turnout had exceeded 700,000, including 48,000 voting at 15 polling stations from 10am to 10pm yesterday. The exercise will continue until Sunday, with City University open for voting on evenings this week.

Watch: Hong Kongers defy Beijing to vote in democracy referendum

 


Where you can cast your vote

 

Hong Kong Island:

1. The University of Hong Kong
[G/F,The Hong Kong University Students' Union Building, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong]

2. Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union Causeway Bay Service Centre
[M/F Wing Tak Mansion, 15 Canal Road West, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong]

3. 18 Chai Wan Rd
[18 Chai Wan Rd, Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong]

 

Kowloon:

1. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
[Room GH201, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom]

2. City University of Hong Kong
[R4201, 4/F, Amenities Building, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong]

3. Cheung Sha Wan Job Training Centre, Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood
[Shop 5-7, Trade Square G/F, Cheung Sha Wan Road No. 681]

4. Hong Kong Christian Council Building
[Basement, Christian Ecumenical Building, 33 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui]

5. St Paul’s Parish
[Tung Kun Street, Yau Ma Tei]

6. St. Bonaventure Church
[89 Po Kong Village Road, Tsz Wan Shan]

 

New Territories:

1. Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union Tseung Kwan O Centre
[G/F Yan Ming Court Multi Storey Car Park, 100 Po Lam Road North, Tseung Kwan O]

2. Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Tuen Mun
[Tuen Mun Heung Sze Wui Road, Tuen Mun]

3. Yuen Long Training Centre, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
[2-8 Tai Cheung Stree, 5/F, THF (Yuen Long) Commercial Building , Yuen Long]

4. Shatin Marden Foundation Secondary School Building (opposite to Sha Tin Government Secondary School)
[18-24 Man Lai Road, Shatin]

5. Neighbourhood & Worker's Service Centre – Tsuen Wan Far East Retraining Centre
[135-143 Castle Peak Road, Far East Centre, Tsuen Wan]

6. Neighbourhood & Worker's Service Centre – Kwai Fong Integrated Service Mutual Help Child Care Centre Limited
[1-3, G/F, Kwai Fong Estate Kwai Yan House, Kwai Chung]

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112

This article is now closed to comments

likingming
May be it is about time to allow the residents of NE of New Territories to have their own referendum to decide the development there. Let's allow them to self-determination. Let's allow them to have freedom. Let's allow them to elect their own leader. Let's allow them the highest autonomy that is independence.
How about the Hong Kong Island and the Lamma Island ?
321manu
How's that straw man working out for you? Maybe when you grow up, you can argue against real men and women. Good luck.
321manu
To gunzy,
I don't think I'm displaying unusual clarity. There really is no other way to interpret what the referendum stands for, and what it doesn't stand for.
I think by abstaining from Q1, you've already indicated "none of the above". I derided Occupy for adding Q2 in a belated effort to drum up more votes after the deliberation day gong show, but it was likely rather effective in the end.
On the other hand, people like "******", based on their comments here, aren't likely to be capable of clarity, or even of basic comprehension. That's why he makes ridiculous assertions like "the only people voting are so and so...". I mean, how stupid must you be to say something like that? Or perhaps I should be asking "how indoctrinated".
The turnout has surpassed all expectations. It's time for the stooges to take a rest, cuz they're being as effective as urinating into the wind. They need to chill out for a few days, then bring their unique brand of commentary back when the results are disclosed. That will be a far more interesting discussion.
blue
"You dont speak for Hong Kong people at all. Go back to Lan Kwai Fong with the rest of your kin"

You know nothing about me.
nicolas
This shows that the people of HK wanted a true and geniune universal suffrage. NOT a farce universal suffrage proposed by beijing. The whole nominating committee are simply a bunch of selfish and greedy professional and businessman who only think for their own interest and pocket only. They do not represent the voice of HK people. We wanted a chief executive who will handle the HK for the sake of HK citizens and not mainlanders. These mainlanders are simply a bunch of greedy people who are slowly and stealing the benefit of Hk people. Ranging from free education, subsidized public hospital and others social welfare. They're not even paying a single tax to the HK government. They steal like a thief same as their communist government. Mainlanders are so annoying and nuisance to HK society. They shout, spit, urinate and even defacate in public places during broad daylight. These are people with low etiquette and uncivilized behaviour. They're the main reason why foreign tourist decline drastically the past years. Foreigner can't even stand their bad attitude and manners. Mainlanders are simply a bunch of rubbish...
blue
"Just shut up you keyboard warrior, you're not leading any kind of revolutionary movement anytime soon. Just go back to wiping the Cheetos crumbs off your T-shirt and request your Thai bride to get you another beer."

P.iss off you sack of s.hit. If that's all you can provide as commentary, then we both know you're completely intellectually and morally bankrupt. The majority of HK people loath sacks of garbage like you who would eagerly give your own skin to your master if he demanded it.
michaelhctam@gmail.com
You dont speak for Hong Kong people at all. Go back to Lan Kwai Fong with the rest of your kind.
How About
Now now now blue we can do better than that, Asterisk-6 was very civil in his post and there's no reason why you should lower to uncivility. I like him, AND, you don't speak for the majority of HK.
.
Nevertheless ejmciii had it coming, she best serves her master stations in Iraq.
.
michaelhctam@gmail.com
The only people voting in this thing are-
1. Domestic Helpers that aren't invested in the actual issue and are just bored.
2. People that think voting will get them a Coupon at Wellcome or Cafe De Coral.
blue
Wow you really love being disingenuous. We all know you're wrong.

Now back to reality: Isn't it weird how the only people who receive free incentives like tickets, food, etc are Pro beijing DAB supporters?

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