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More than 160,000 people vote in Hong Kong democracy referendum

Published on Jun 20, 2014 5:49 PM
 
Supporters hold banners and placards at Hong Kong's financial Central district during a kick-off ceremony to urge people to vote in an unofficial referendum on June 20, 2014. More than 160,000 people took part in an unofficial Hong Kong vote on electoral reform on Friday, at a time of heightened tensions as pro-democracy activists worry that Beijing will backtrack on its promise of universal suffrage. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (AFP) - More than 160,000 people took part in an unofficial Hong Kong vote on electoral reform on Friday, at a time of heightened tensions as pro-democracy activists worry that Beijing will backtrack on its promise of universal suffrage.

As of 4 pm local time (4pm, Singapore time), four hours after online polling opened, 166,980 people had taken part in the informal "civil referendum" which asks participants to choose between three methods to vote for Hong Kong's next leader in 2017.

Occupy Central, the local pro-democracy movement that organised the vote, said a high turnout would prove the city's determination to win "true" universal suffrage for the semi-autonomous city.

Under the "one country, two systems" agreement reached when Hong Kong was handed over from former colonial power Britain to Communist-ruled China in 1997, Hong Kong has guaranteed civil liberties not enjoyed on the mainland, including free speech and the right to protest.

 
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