POLITICS
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Occupy Central

Anti-Occupy organiser insists his poll will be better than 'referendum'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 August, 2014, 4:03am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 August, 2014, 8:24am

Occupy Central opponents laid claim yesterday to a "noble heart" that would ensure their online signature campaign would be better than the civil disobedience activists' recent unofficial referendum.

Robert Chow Yung, spokesman for the Beijing-loyalist Alliance for Peace and Democracy, said his group "faced the same difficulties" as Occupy, such as stopping people signing up more than once. "But we are better because we have a noble heart."

Chow spoke ahead of the launch tomorrow of a new website to gather support for the alliance's call for Occupy to back down from its threat to stage a huge sit-in.

Chow said more than one million people had signed petitions at more than 400 stations around the city since the campaign began on July 19. It will end on August 17.

The petition calls for universal suffrage for the chief executive election in 2017, a goal it shares with Occupy Central, but specifies it must be achieved in a "peaceful" manner without occupying the business district.

Occupy Central plans to rally protesters to block traffic in Central if the government fails to come up with a satisfactory plan for universal suffrage.

In June, Chow said Occupy's internet voting turnout was "inflated" after it attracted more than 400,000 votes on the first day despite a massive cyberattack. It eventually attracted nearly 800,000 votes.

Yesterday he dismissed suggestions that the anti-Occupy turnout could be "inflated" too. "The level of inflation depends on how much water the organiser wants to add," Chow said. "We will delete [dubious submissions] and prevent people from pouring water into our website."

Occupy co-organiser Dr Chan Kin-man said Chow was making "very serious accusations".

"We commissioned an academic organisation," Chan said, referring to the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme. "Chow is actually making accusations against them."

Those signing on Chow's website will have to fill in their name, identity card number and a verification code, while declaring they are signing for the first time. But he admitted there was no way to prevent people who had signed at physical stations from doing the same online.

Labour minister Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said he wanted to sign the petition.