A pro-Beijing group is staging a city-wide petition campaign in Hong Kong this week in an attempt to pressure pan-democrats to support the government’s electoral reform package.
The reforms allow the people of Hong Kong to elect their leader for the first time in 2017 – but only from candidates pre-selected by China. The Alliance for Peace and Democracy launched the nine-day campaign on Saturday (May 9), with hundreds of booths set up to collect signatures from Hong Kongers aged 18 and above.
A spokesman from the group said they wanted to show that the majority of Hong Kongers support reform. But critics are doubtful on the credibility of the exercise – those who sign do not need to provide any proof of identity.
This comes as Beijing released a draft of the country’s national security law last week, which opponents say will clamp down on the territory’s freedom. Supporters say residents should place their faith in the city’s political system.
“I don’t wish to see people keep protesting outside the Legislative Council,” said a supporter of the pro-Beijing group. “I want people to meet and respect our political system.”
Another added: “How you see the elections in 2017 depends on your position. I think the question of whether it is a real or fake election depends on how you view the candidates on offer and whether you accept them.”