Sunday, 09 May, 2021


Chinese lawmakers set to tighten control on Hong Kong

Hong Kong Hong Kong Police Hong Kong dissidents Hong Kong protests Hong Kong news Hong Kong crisis Hong Kong China relations world news indian express China moves to tighten control over Hong Kong's electoral system
Patty Aguilar | 11 March, 2021, 22:09

China's National People's Congress has chose to reform Hong Kong's electoral system.

The measure adds to a crackdown against a protest movement in Hong Kong calling for greater democracy. Since then, most high-profile democratic politicians and activists have been sent to jail or are in self-exile.

The Liaison Office, Beijing's representative body in Hong Kong, said the "central authorities have good intentions".

"We expect all sectors of the community and the public to take ownership of the work to amend the law and offer suggestions so that a strong positive energy can be gathered under the banner of patriotism and love for Hong Kong".

China's parliament supported the proposed changes by 2,895 votes to zero with one abstention.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Thursday expressed her administration's "sincere gratitude" to the NPC, saying the changes will fix the problem of too much politics in the legislature.

Highlighting the "instabilities" and "uncertainties" in China's current security circumstances, Xi said the whole armed forces must always be ready to respond to all kinds of complex and hard situations, resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and provide strong support for fully building a modern socialist country.

The restructuring is aimed at getting the city "back on the right track", Lam said.

Over the last week, government officials and state media have said repeatedly that "reforms" would usher in better governance in Hong Kong, close "loopholes and deficiencies" in the procedures to install leaders, and restore order.

Hong Kong Secretary for Mainland and Constitutional Affairs Erick Tsang has defined patriotism as "holistic love" for China, including the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

The legislation is expected to be announced in greater detail when the NPC Standing Committee meets at a later date, and it could be enacted into Hong Kong law within the next few months.

"This is the latest step by Beijing to hollow out the space for democratic debate in Hong Kong, contrary to the promises made by China itself".

In a news conference following the vote, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the principle of "patriots governing Hong Kong" is clear and the central government will ensure the "accurate and comprehensive" implementation of the "one country, two systems" framework.

China's lawmakers will vote today on proposed changes to Hong Kong's electoral system, including a prerequisite that potential lawmakers and office-holders will have to be loyal to Beijing.

Yang noted that it will also help to dispel concerns among the worldwide community about social unrest in Hong Kong, and provide global businesses with a more enabling environment featuring greater social tranquility, political stability and business predictability, he added. A new mechanism will be set up to vet candidates and screen election winners' behaviour to make sure only those seen as patriots rule Hong Kong.

Raab made similar statements to the 46th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) - which started on 22 February and runs until 22 March - where he urged the worldwide body to conduct an inquiry into alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

Now half of the 70 seats in the Legislative Council are directly elected, a proportion which will shrink with the extra seats picked by the electoral committee.

What does the Hong Kong election reform law change?

A group of 24 pro-democracy Hong Kong activists - some of whom are in exile - have called on the European Union not to ratify its investment agreement with China in light of the changes.

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