Hong Kong, August 4 (Sputnik/ANI): Democracy activists in Hong Kong are alarmed with the government's proposal to expand the parliamentary elections' geography to mainland China, fearing potential loopholes for electoral fraud and considering the initiative "politically driven," according to a collective petition launched on Tuesday.
Last week, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that Hong Kong's electoral arrangements should be modernized to include online voting, voting outside of Hong Kong and postal voting as a mitigation means for unforeseen circumstances, such as the pandemic. Until now, only permanent residents of Hong Kong were eligible to cast ballots.
"We strongly oppose Carrie Lam's proposal, given that such a proposal will create an opportunity for election fraud," the petition read.
Activists fear, in particular, that Beijing "may block representatives of pro-democracy candidates or observers from entering mainland China which would leave the polling stations in mainland China unmonitorable" and also manipulate the results of the polling stations, which Hong Kong authorities proposed to arrange in Guangdong Greater Bay Area in southern China.
"It is abundantly clear that the proposal of overseas voting is politically driven and in favour of pro-Beijing candidates. Therefore, we strongly urge the government to drop the proposal to ensure free and fair elections," the democracy activists wrote.
The online petition was signed by prominent Hong Kong opposition figures, including Joshua Wong, Tiffany Yuen, Jannelle Leung, Sunny Cheung, Gwyneth Ho, Eddie Chu and Lester Shum, some of whom were banned by the Hong Kong government from running in the now-postponed elections to the Legislative Council last month.
The Hong Kong elections were initially scheduled for September 6. Last week, the government postponed the vote, citing coronavirus-related risks. (Sputnik/ANI)