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Beijing strikes out over Macau democracy vote

HONG KONG--Beijing has slammed an unofficial referendum on electoral reform to be held in the gambling mecca of Macau, local media said Thursday, after almost 800,000 turned out for a similar poll in Hong Kong.

A statement from Beijing's liaison office in Macau said the enclave had “no authority” to hold the poll, which organizers said was part of a fight to establish a democratic system.

“An administrative region has no authority to establish a system of referendum or organize any activity relating to referendum,” a report in the Macau Daily Times cited the statement as saying Thursday.

Macau's poll is slated to run between Aug. 24 and August 30 — just ahead of the naming of the enclave's new leader on August 31 — and activists are hoping for a turnout of 10,000 in the city of 550,000.

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