Hong Kong referendum: Voting website 'attacked'

Demonstrators supporting the Occupy Central movement display placards asking residents to cast ballots for the 22 June during a protest outside Beijing's representative office in Hong Kong, on 11 June. The unofficial referendum on democratic reform in Hong Kong is scheduled to start on 20 June

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Organisers of an unofficial referendum on democratic reform in Hong Kong say their voting website has been attacked.

Protest movement Occupy Central said the attack on the popvote.hk website was on a scale "rarely seen".

In an apparent denial-of-service attack, Occupy said, the site had received "billions" of hits.

A spokesman stopped short of putting the blame on Beijing, attributing the attack to persons who did not wish Hong Kong to have fair elections.

"This is a peaceful method of expression of the citizens' will. For it to have suffered an unprecedented attack, the aim must have been to silence the people of Hong Kong so that the people of Hong Kong cannot oppose sham elections," he said.

He added that organisers were preparing to lengthen the voting period for the referendum, which is due to take place from Friday to Sunday.

Protest organisers are calling for a democratic electoral system in Hong Kong and universal suffrage, which Beijing has granted for the 2017 election for Hong Kong's chief executive.

But Chinese officials have insisted that a small committee of 1,200 people choose who is on the ballot, effectively limiting the candidate field to those approved by Beijing.

The popvote.hk website was designed by the University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Polytechnic University to measure support for Occupy Central's campaign for universal suffrage.

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