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Referendum on Direct Elections Defeated in Hong Kong


Pro-Beijing lawmakers in Hong Kong have defeated a motion calling for a referendum on direct elections.

Beijing ruled in April that Hong Kong cannot elect its next leader in 2007, and will not be able to vote for all of their legislators and leaders the following year.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Fernando Cheung had introduced a motion backing a referendum on direct elections, but it was defeated 31 to 20 Monday because of opposition from the pro-government camp, which holds a majority in the legislature.

China has denounced the referendum idea, calling it a challenge to the mainland's constitutional system that would damage Hong Kong's interests.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.