Minitrue: Hong Kong Referendum

The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.

State Council Information Office: Effective immediately, find and delete all news related to the 6/22 Hong Kong referendum, thoroughly clean up related comments, and promptly send a work report [on your progress]. Forcibly cancel blogs and microblog posts reprinting harmful information. Ensure that no information related to the referendum appears online. Guangdong Province is to cut signal on all programs from Hong Kong television stations, especially on June 22. (June 23, 2014)

国信办:全网查删香港622公投一切相关有害信息,全面清理跟帖评论,立即执行,并及时反馈工作情况。对于反复发表相关有害信息的博客、微博客强制注销,确保全网不出现公投的任何信息。广东省切断所有香港电视台的节目信号,特别是6月22日。

With organizers hoping for 100,000 participants in Hong Kong’s ten-day unofficial referendum on electoral reform, the number of votes surpassed 689,000 on Sunday June 22, despite what the New York Times described as “one of the most severe cyberattack of its kind ever seen” on the online voting platform [inaccessible a the time of this posting]. The referendum, organized by members of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central With Peace and Love movement, has met staunch opposition from Beijing. BBC’s China Media report rounds up state media attacks on the unofficial Hong Kong poll:

Media in China warn of “serious consequences” as hundreds of thousands vote in an unofficial pro-democracy referendum in Hong Kong.

[…] Describing the referendum as “illegal” and a “joke”, the Global Times’ Chinese edition admits that “it is not happy news for the mainland because there are many supporters of the voting”.

However, the state-run paper reminds the opposition groups to “get used to the fact” that Beijing will never compromise on sovereignty-related issues even when facing “pressure from the West”.

“Many of them have pathetic tunnel vision. They should look at the whole nation of 1.3 billion people, and remember how this country successfully controlled the British government under Margaret Thatcher to regain Hong Kong… The opposition groups should stop having the illusion of succeeding in this farce,” it says.

Echoing similar sentiments, an article in Haiwai Net describes the vote as “obviously ridiculous”, adding that it cannot be “legally binding”.  […] [Source]

The International Business Times translates a few deleted online reactions to states media attacks on the poll:

“The Global Time[s] is a crap newspaper,” one blogger posted, adding, “How about you let the 1.3 billion [people in China] vote on a referendum?”

“The votes of 700,000 people mean nothing? Well neither do the votes of 1.3 billion,” another said. [Source]

The sizable number of participants in the the poll so far may be related to negative public reaction to Beijing’s recently released “white paper” reasserting sovereignty over the semi-autonomous region.

CDT collects directives from a variety of sources and checks them against official Chinese media reports to confirm their implementation.

Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.

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