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China state media denounces Occupy Central vote, as cyberattacks and censorship ramps up

China’s mainland state media, led by the likes of daily tabloid The Global Times, has denounced the unofficial referendum on allowing more democracy in Hong Kong.

The move by the state media comes amid reports, that as the referendum draws more than 700,000 voters, mainland China’s censors have moved to censor discussion of the reform initiative on popular social media platform Weibo while the referendum’s organisers website has also come under cyberattack.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 12.22.55 pmChina’s The Global Times, which has a print circulation in China of 1.7m copies, today denounced the activities of Occupy Central in its Chinese language edition as an “illegal farce” that was “tinged with mincing ludicrousness”. 

While its english edition used more measured language to call on the organisers to end the referendum. “The opposition groups urgently need to improve their political insight to become aware of what they can and can’t do,” wrote the newspaper in its english language editorial.

“They should refrain from indiscretion and adopt a realistic attitude instead of fancying themselves as just and righteous people.”

According to the South Morning China Post, Occupy Central’s organisers have responded to the editorial and particular the ridiculing of  its 700,000 plus votes as “no match” for the 1.3 billion population in China by saying: “If the 1.3 billion people really have a vote, I believe they will support democratic development in Hong Kong to serve as a model of demonstration for the rest of the country.”

The verbal stoush comes amid reports in the Wall Street Journal that Occupy Central’s website has been the subject of cyberattacks in an attempt to shut down its website, popvote.hk.

While Freeweibo.com, a real-time censorship monitoring system, reports some posts on the social media platform Weibo relating to the voting referendum that included phrases like “6/22 referendum,” “Hong Kong referendum” and even the search term “Hong Kong” were blocked as early as this weekend.  

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