According to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, the U.S. is behind the Occupy protests and the pro-democracy movement, and this theory seems to be gaining traction among the city's population. A new poll conducted by Curiously, surveying Hong Kong residents, shows divided results regarding who is pulling the strings. 

Hong Kong Poll A poll of Hong Kong residents found that more than half of those surveyed believe the U.S. could have a role in promoting the pro-democracy protests. Photo: Curiously/ IBTimes

Nearly half the poll's sampling of 500 people did not think the U.S. had a hand in promoting the protests currently taking over Hong Kong. The other half was divided by people who did think the U.S. was responsible and those who think it is a possibility.

During a television interview, Leung pointed to “external forces” as a driving factor keeping the pro-democracy protests going. “I shan’t go into details but this is not entirely a domestic movement.... There is obviously participation by people, organizations from outside of Hong Kong, in politics in Hong Kong, over a long time,” he said in the interview on Sunday.

But Leung is not the first to propose such a theory. Chinese state media has been pushing the view that foreign influence is what has fueled the protests. The Global Times, a hard-line state-run newspaper, published an article in early October, saying that the Occupy protests “bear the shadow of the West.” Other articles specifically called out U.S. government-backed foundations such as the National Democratic Institute and the National Endowment for Democracy, alleging that they are orchestrating the unrest. The People’s Daily said that NED Vice President for Asia, Middle East & North Africa, and Global Program Louisa Greve met with “key people” involved with Occupy, “several months ago.”

The NED has responded to accusations by Chinese media, calling the reports “erroneous.”

“Reports that NED Vice President Louisa Greve met with organizers of the Hong Kong protests are inaccurate, and while the National Endowment for Democracy is supportive of the goals of universal suffrage, and genuine democracy, no leader of the current protests has sought assistance of counsel form the NED,” a statement read.

Representatives from the U.S. government have also fired back, rejecting the implication that Washington, D.C., is somehow pulling the strings for any group or party involved with the Hong Kong protests. “What is happening in Hong Kong is about the people of Hong Kong, and the assertion otherwise is an attempt to distract from the issue at hand, which is the people of Hong Kong expressing their desire for universal suffrage and an election that provides a meaningful choice of candidates representative of the voters’ will,” Scott Robinson, spokesman for the U.S. consulate general, told the South China Morning Post.