China media: Hong Kong referendum

Occupy Central co-organisers announce the number of votes twenty-six hours after their unofficial referendum began in Hong Kong on 21 June, 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Occupy Central movement has organised the vote, which will run over several days

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

Occupy Central, an opposition group, organised the referendum on universal suffrage amid growing public anger with Beijing over how Hong Kong elects its next leader.

According to reports, the voting over the weekend drew more than 700,000 votes, exceeding the organisers' forecast.

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".

"It is difficult to imagine that the central government and Hong Kong administrators will give way. The organisers have admitted that they are going to achieve their political goals through illegal actions and it is difficult to gain support from ordinary Hong Kongers," it says.

The Ta Kung Pao daily, a pro-Beijing paper based in Hong Kong, warns the voters and organisers of "serious consequences".

"Those voters are likely to taste their own medicine in the future, bearing the serious consequences of having a messy financial centre and facing social disorder. The police will be very busy and the People's Liberation Army forces in Hong Kong might even be deployed to deal with the problems," it says.

Cultural exchanges

Elsewhere, the ancient Silk Road and China's Grand Canal were given UNESCO World Heritage Site status on Sunday.

The application for the Silk Road listing was jointly submitted by China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. This was the first time China co-operated with foreign countries for the nomination, reports said.

The other winning candidate, the Grand Canal, is the world's longest artificial waterway which covers eight Chinese provinces and municipalities.

Du Yue, secretary general of the Chinese delegation at the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee, says the approval of the Silk Road application will strengthen cultural exchanges between China and the two Central Asian nations, the Beijing Times reports.

And finally, the controversial dog-meat eating festival held over the weekend in southern China continues to generate discussion.

The annual festival drew widespread attention as activists poured into the city to save the animals, while others argued for their right to consume dog meat.

Criticising the activists, the China Daily reminds readers that there is no regulation to prohibit the consumption of dog meat, and harassing sellers "constitutes an infringement on the rights and interests of those who are being harassed".

"Dog lovers cannot consider themselves as being on the high-moral ground simply because of their affection for dogs," it says.

Commenting on the heated debates, an article in the Beijing News says that the controversial incident has led to a wider discussion on issues.

"When wide attention is shed on the issues and arguments take place, there will be a need for people to express themselves. Such discussions will be important to progress towards a civilised society," it says.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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