Occupy Central

Former Xinhua official Zhang Junsheng calls Hong Kong's unofficial poll meaningless

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2014, 4:25am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2014, 5:08am

Another former mainland representative in Hong Kong has dismissed the unofficial poll on Hong Kong's electoral reform in which more than 720,000 people have cast ballots.

Zhang Junsheng, a former deputy director of Xinhua News Agency in Hong Kong, called the exercise meaningless and questioned whether those who voted knew what it was about.

He also said many of the pan-democrats spearheading the exercise and the Occupy Central movement "have never done anything good for Hong Kong".

His views were rejected by an organiser of the ballot as an insult to Hongkongers.

Speaking on the sidelines of a seminar organised by pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao, Zhang said the organisers of the civil disobedience movement could not pressurise the Hong Kong and central governments no matter how many people voted in the "referendum", which he said was not legally binding.

Xinhua's Hong Kong branch was the predecessor of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong.

Zhang, who retired as its deputy director in 1998 after 13 years in Hong Kong, spoke a day after Chen Zuoer , a former deputy director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, called the public vote unrepresentative.

On Friday the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said the unofficial plebiscite was "unlawful" and not legally binding.

Zhang, 78, said: "Is it really true that more than 700,000 people have voted in the so-called referendum? You should ask those who have cast ballots if they know what it is about."

By midnight yesterday the total had reached 728,601.

He said pan-democrats should tell the public if they had colluded with any foreign forces.

Dr Chan Kin-man, a co-organiser of the Occupy Central movement, said the fact the unofficial referendum was not legally binding did not mean the central and Hong Kong governments could ignore the voters' views.

"What Zhang said is an insult to Hong Kong people," he said.

Meanwhile, Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit queried Chen's remark in an interview with the SCM P on Sunday that upholding the country's sovereignty and security took precedence over maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity.

Leong said Chen had put an "additional tag" on the central government's promise before the 1997 handover to maintain the city's stability and prosperity.