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China dismisses planned Macau democracy vote as meaningless

Published on Jul 10, 2014 2:29 PM
 

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - China has dismissed as meaningless a proposed referendum on democracy in its southern gambling hub of Macau, a poll that would follow in the footsteps of a similar informal vote in nearby Hong Kong.

Three activist groups said on Monday they would stage a referendum among Macau's 600,000 residents to coincide with the widely expected re-election by a local council of local leader Fernando Chui in August.

China denounced the June poll in Hong Kong, underscored by a march by hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding the right to freely elect their local leader in 2017. Five student leaders were arrested after a later sit-in.

The former British colony of Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, followed two years later by the Portuguese-run enclave of Macau, now the world's biggest gambling centre. Both enjoy wide-ranging autonomy and free speech not permitted on the mainland.

 
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