• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 5:48am
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong
OCCUPY CENTRAL

Occupy Central thumbs nose at state media's use of 1.3b population to criticise unofficial vote

No basis for comparison between 720,000-strong turnout at reform 'referendum' and 1.3 billion national population, poll organisers say

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 11:54am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2014, 6:17pm

The Occupy Central movement for democracy yesterday gave as good as it got from state media, describing as laughable an editorial that called its unofficial referendum on Hong Kong's electoral reform ludicrous.

Organisers of the ongoing citywide poll dismissed criticism from state-run tabloid Global Times that the voter turnout - 728,601 by midnight last night - was "no match" for the 1.3 billion population in the whole of China.

That view was laughable, and disregarded the "one country, two systems" policy under which Hong Kong operates, Occupy co-organiser Dr Chan Kin-man said.

"If the 1.3 billion people really have a vote, I believe they will support democratic development in Hong Kong to serve as a model of demonstration for the rest of the country," Chan said.

On Sina.com's microblog service, Weibo, the editorial promptly triggered heated discussion. "Let the 1.3 billion people have a vote and see!" one person wrote, while another lamented: "I'm 47 years old and I have never seen a ballot before."

Occupy's 10-day "referendum" lists three reform plans, all of which allow the public to nominate candidates for the 2017 chief executive election in some form - an idea Beijing rejects. By making the population comparison and calling the exercise an "illegal farce", the Global Times is attempting to discredit the exercise.

The newspaper advises Hong Kong's opposition to "remember how the state defeated the Iron Lady's administration and took back Hong Kong", in a reference to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher that appeared in the Chinese version of the editorial but not the English one.

"Even if they can deceive more than half of Hongkongers, Beijing will never compromise on sovereignty-related issues," it said. "The simplest reason is that the Basic Law reflects the will of the whole nation as well, and therefore more than 1.3 billion people have the right to speak on Hong Kong's political reform." Political scientist Dixon Sing Ming said he was not surprised by the tabloid's words, given its usual tough stance, but it might not represent Beijing's true view as its comments were sometimes "corrected" by another state-run paper, the People's Daily.

Watch: Hongkongers voice their opinion on the referendum, democracy, and Occupy Central”

Federation of Students secretary general Alex Chow Yong-kang said action to "occupy" a part of the city remained on his group's agenda early next month.

"We do expect the government to respond to the poll results," Chow said. "If it still categorically rules out public nomination or party nomination, we will occupy the streets."

Chan urged restraint, though he asked Occupy voters to join the annual July 1 democracy march to refute claims that their votes were fake.

Chan's Occupy colleague Benny Tai Yiu-ting added: "The spirit of civil disobedience is to exhaust all legal means to protest first.

"We will know the poll results on June 30. We need to give the government a reasonable amount of time to respond."

Meanwhile, in the public poll that started on Friday, 728,601 votes had been cast online and at the 15 polling stations by midnight last night. The exercise will continue until Sunday.

A queue of about 100 voters formed at City University, the only polling station that was open after the weekend. One of them, student Rosanna Tang, 24, said the Global Times editorial "did not make sense" and had provoked her into voting.

Elaine Yu, a clerk in her 50s, said the editorial made her more determined to vote. "Hong Kong is the only Chinese city where people can voice their opinions freely … Everyone should make an effort for the sake of our younger generations."

 

Share

Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

31

This article is now closed to comments

321manu
I normally don't take anything that appears in Global Times to be worthy of my time. But this is just too good to pass up: "voter turnout - 728,601 by midnight last night - was "no match" for the 1.3 billion population in the whole of China.". How on earth would they know that 1.3 billion people in China are opposed to what those 728K HKers might be seeking? If they really had some semblance of strength of conviction, they'd put that theory to the test. But I've always found the CCP, and by extension GT, to be shy about balling up when it came to determining (or even allowing) public opinion.
53a913c9-6e24-47a9-91a8-52ab0a3209cb
China has set a trap for its own. Yes, we can let the 1.3 billion Chinese vote. First of all the Beijing administration has to demonstrate the vote is real, not manipulated.
Should Chinese be governed by the Communist? Should people have freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of gathering, . . . , all the freedom protected by the Chinese Constitution?
chuchu59
1.3 billion vs 700 000? Is that the best argument some people can come up with? With due respect, our fellow countrymen do not have to contend with the Basic Law which guarantees our freedoms and some say in our own affairs. I long for the day when all Chinese wont be merely satisfied with economic well-being and start to have an interest in running their own country. Only then will we be the truly strong superpower we claim to be.
sipsip1238
Organisers of the ongoing citywide poll dismissed criticism from state-run tabloid Global Times that the voter turnout - 728,601 by midnight last night - was "no match" for the 1.3 billion population in the whole of China.
And Global Times - 1.3b is "no match" for the other 5b around the world that you're clearly not making friends with.
likingming
Hence, let us 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 ?
kongshan2047
The democrats should first answer this question. How many of the so called democratic countries actually adopt public nomination for the election of their leaders? Lets take a look at the election system of Britain for example, David Cameron was never elected by the British public as their Prime Minister. He was merely elected by the people of his constituent to represent them as MP. He is PM simply because he happens to be leader of the Conservative party, which by the way is in a coalition government with the Lib Dem party. If Nick Clegg, the leader of the Lib Dem opted to form an alliance with Labour after the 2010 election, Gordon Brown could still be the PM today. So where is the public nomination for the British PM here? Also, Canadian and Australian PM are also "elected" in this identical manner.
ssslmcs01
I challenge the same people who are making these comments to put a question to the 1.3 billion people of China on constitutional development that includes democracy.
John Adams
Regardless of the legality or otherwise of the mock referendum ( which I personally did not take part in because it did not allow me to vote against public nomination) words like : 'illegal farce' and 'tinged with mincing ludicrousness' are much more appropriate when describing the Global Times itself, rather than anything that is spoken or written by HK people ( except, perhaps, the People Power / raving-loony party ) .
Hollander323
We all get the impression that HK people's freedom has been getting less and less from a some media but at the same time we get another impression from other media saying that HK people's freedom is just as before 1997 and having been guarded well by the Basic Law....
Can all of us just carry out a review on our own experience for the period of past 10- 15 years, and ask ourselves the sort of impression that we have regarding freedom? Is it like some media have said that HK is dieing?
From the video, I got the impression that most of the interviewees who supported OC voting didn't really understand the Basic Law, and they voted just as a preventive and defensive measure simply they are scared, how should we valuate these votes? They did not cast their votes under duress but they were scared somewhat by the cyber attack and by the preaching of some opinion leaders.
The white paper simply stated what it is and what it has always been under the basic law, nothing new, If the people of HK after doing their homework to understand what the basic law is, then they decided to support OC then so be it, because these people have done the right thing, that 's it, HK's society going down such a path is just unavoidable. Let us pray and brace,...
lib_prc

Actually I don't think China wants HK that much (although some of our HK compatriots are led to believe China has to have HK)...what's the point of having someone in your house who is spoon-fed by you but shows no appreciation? At least Singapore knows when to shut up in its dealings with Malaysia...

Pages

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or