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Macau activists plan democracy poll in new headache for China

Published on Jul 8, 2014 1:02 PM

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Three activist groups in Chinese-ruled Macau, the world's biggest gambling hub, are planning an informal referendum on democracy, an organiser said on Tuesday, following the footsteps of neighbouring Hong Kong whose ballot China branded illegal.

Macau, a special administrative region of China like Hong Kong, is widely expected to re-elect its current leader, Fernando Chui, in a vote on August 31.

But it is an official body of 400 that elects the leader, similar to Hong Kong where a small committee of largely pro-Beijing loyalists chooses who gets on the ballot, effectively rendering the ability to vote meaningless.

"By taking part in a simulated referendum it may stimulate citizens' interest in fighting for a genuine democratic election," said Jason Chao, one of the organisers of the poll.

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