Press Release: Nearly 800 thousand Hong Kong people voted against non-genuine universal suffrage

30.6.2014 | Press Release by Occupy Central with Love and Peace

*792,808 Hong Kong people had cast ballots in the Civil Referendum held by Occupy Central with Love and Peace from 20 to 29 June. It showed that Hong Kong citizens are not afraid of suppression and treasure their freedom of expression. We are very encouraged by the result and would like to express our gratitude to the citizens for their support to Occupy Central with Love and Peace and their trust in the online voting portal established by the Public Opinion Programme of The University of Hong Kong (POP) and Centre for Social Policy Studies at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (CSPS).

In this civil referendum, there were two motions for the citizens to express their views. The first motion is about what electoral reform proposal Occupy Central with Love and Peace should submit to the government. Proposal no. 1, namely the Alliance for True Democracy proposal, was elected by 42% of the voters, received 333,962 votes. Excluding the abstentions and not voted, people who voted for this proposal constitute 46% of the valid votes.

The three proposals on the ballot have altogether received support of 720,284 votes, constituting 91% of the total number of votes. This reflects a strong support of the citizens for proposals with the element of civil nomination, and the government has to respond to the public’s demand. On the other hand, we notice that 72,397 people chose to abstain or not to vote, which constituted 9% of the total votes. The result reflected that certain voters might not fully understand the proposals or did not support them.

Regarding the former, Occupy Central with Love and Peace will continue to do our best to explain the proposals to the community. Regarding the latter, we will, with a humble and open attitude, communicate and seek cooperation with all the organizations and individuals who advocate for the democratization of the Nominating Committee. Together we will continue to fight for a genuine universal suffrage.

The result of the second motion in the civil referendum is clear and unequivocal.  696,092 citizens (87.8% of the total voters) believed that if the government proposal does not meet international standards allowing genuine choices by electors, the Legislative Council should veto it. 59,897 votes said that LegCo should not veto it, constituting 7.6% of the total. There were 36,487 votes of abstention and not voted, constituting 4.6% of the total.

The result indicates that although Hong Kong people may have diverse views on the electoral reform proposals, they have a clear bottom line – other than one person, one vote, universal suffrage should allow people from different backgrounds to enter into the election thus providing truly meaningful choices for the voters. Those who claim that even a non-genuine universal suffrage should be “accepted temporarily” have been defeated by the poll results.

The civil referendum organized by Occupy Central with Love and Peace had been attacked and suppressed with an unprecedented severity, including illegal cyber-attacks by hackers, being defamed by the central government officials as an illegal activity, polling stations materials being confiscated by the customs of the People’s Republic of China, and our advertisement about the civil referendum being suddenly rejected by the Hong Kong Economic Times for the alleged reason that “occupy central is illegal”. The HKSAR government has not only failed to take any action to protect the safety of the cyber-voting platform, but it has repeatedly emphasized that the civil referendum has no legal basis so as to blur the issue, turning a deaf ear on the public’s demand. Meanwhile, after teasing that the poll was a “bluff” and that the number of votes were exaggerated, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong CY Leung claimed that the phrase “international standards” was not stipulated in the Basic Law, indicating that the government is likely to turn a blind eye to the international community’s understanding on universal suffrage and to raise a CE electoral proposal with Chinese characteristics and a screening process!

As the HKSAR government is turning such a deaf ear and a blind eye to its people, and the editorial of the Beijing newspaper claimed that the 1.3 billion people’s opinion can override the voice of Hong Kong people, the three initiators of the Occupy Central with Love and Peace now sincerely appeal to Hong Kong citizens to participate in the July 1st March. We need to come out and show the world our unbeatable dignity and the determination to fight for democracy!

* Final results released by HKUPOP on 30 Jun 2014