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Hong Kong votes in 'democracy bid'

An informal referendum aimed at bolstering support for greater democracy in Hong Kong is winding down after drawing nearly 800,000 votes and Beijing's ire.

The vote which is wrapping up today is part of a campaign by activists in the southern Chinese city to ratchet up the pressure on authorities for democratic reform that could ultimately lead to a mass protest paralysing the city's financial district.

Hong Kong passed from British to Chinese control in 1997 with the promise that it could retain a high degree of control over its own affairs under the principle of "one country, two systems."

Beijing has pledged to allow Hong Kongers to elect their next leader but baulked at letting them nominate their own candidates, saying they need to be vetted by a Beijing-friendly committee.

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