News / Asia

Hong Kong Voters Demand Election Reform in Unofficial Poll

People line up at a polling center to vote in an unofficial referendum on democratic reform in Hong Kong, June 22, 2014.
People line up at a polling center to vote in an unofficial referendum on democratic reform in Hong Kong, June 22, 2014.
Da Hai Han
An unofficial pro-democracy referendum in Hong Kong has been extended through next Sunday, with nearly 720,000 people voting in the past three days to change how city leadership is elected.

The Occupy Central movement, which favors open elections rather than the current Beijing-driven narrow list of candidates, organized the vote to pressure government action.

Benny Tai Yiu-ting, an Occupy Central organizer, said a 21 percent voter turnout through the first weekend of the referendum demands government attention.

"They have clearly indicated their view that they deeply want true democracy for Hong Kong. I would say, any responsible government cannot ignore or undervalue their views, and must seriously consider their views when the government starts to work on its own proposal on the chief executive election method," he said.

A 1,200-member committee of mostly pro-Beijing elites currently chooses Hong Kong’s leadership. Beijing has said Hong Kong can choose its representatives starting in 2017, but rejects the idea of the publicly-nominated candidates.

Occupy Central included three election options in its referendum, which was available in person and online.

In an editorial on Monday, China's state-run Global Post newspaper called the referendum an "illegal farce." Some mainland Chinese readers took to the web to object, with one comment from Hunan province noting, "1.3 billion Chinese cannot even decide our fate by ourselves, but want to decide Hong Kongers' fate. How ridiculous."

VOA observed many posts on the issue had been deleted on China's Weibo micro-blogging platform.

Hong Kong activists are threatening  to shut down the city's central business district with a massive, Occupy Wall Street-style sit-in, if demands for reform are not taken seriously.

Zhou Yongkang, the secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, told VOA’s Mandarin Service Monday the date of any civil disobedience is undetermined.

"We won’t give a date. We are saying we will occupy central [business district] if the government denies the public’s will," Zhou said. "We are watching for the government’s response."

Polling is expected to continue through June 29.

There are approximately 3.5 million registered voters in Hong Kong.

Yibing Feng contributed to this report from Washington.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
June 24, 2014 11:09 AM
HK is part of China, there is nothing wrong that the general congress nominates CEO candidates! Chinese do vote their congress delegates! The general congress is the representative of 1.3 billion Chinese!


by: meanbill from: USA
June 23, 2014 8:38 PM
SINCE Tiananmen Square, China learned that the "Peoples Liberation Army" that Mao promised wouldn't be used against the people, (and most the (PLA) avoided doing so), and that almost brought down the whole Chinese communist government, and since then, China has purged many in the (PLA) and cut the (PLA) forces, and greatly expanded the police with Special Forces Training, to handle any and all, political responses... China may not like the publicity, but those arrested won't like their imprisonment, or disappearances, either.... Chinese protesters beware?


by: So So from: US
June 23, 2014 7:29 PM
Wow! 5 more days to go.

In Response

by: So So
June 26, 2014 11:53 AM
2 more days

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid