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Hong Kong's democracy 'referendum' likely to rile China

Published on Jun 19, 2014 3:39 PM
 
Pro-democracy activists scream at a pro-China group during a rally to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square military crackdown, in Hong Kong on June 4, 2014. Hong Kong holds a controversial "referendum" on democracy on Friday, June 20, 2014, a prelude to an escalating campaign of dissent that could shut down the former British colony's financial district and further anger China's Communist Party leaders. -- PHOTO: AFP 

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Hong Kong holds a controversial "referendum" on democracy on Friday, a prelude to an escalating campaign of dissent that could shut down the former British colony's financial district and further anger China's Communist Party leaders.

An affluent city of seven million that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, Hong Kong's longstanding push for full democracy is reaching what could be boiling point with tens of thousands expected to vote in the unofficial referendum.

While Beijing has allowed Hong Kong to go ahead with a popular vote for the city's top leader in 2017, the most far-reaching experiment in democracy in China since the Communist takeover in 1949, senior Chinese officials have ruled out allowing the public to nominate candidates.

Instead, Beijing insists a small committee of largely pro-Beijing loyalists choose who gets on the ballot, which would effectively render the ability to vote meaningless.

 
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