Wednesday, 05 May, 2021


Blinken calls on China to uphold obligations and commitments on Hong Kong

China moves to tighten control over Hong Kong's electoral system China’s parliament approves plan to reform Hong Kong’s electoral system
Patty Aguilar | 12 March, 2021, 15:30

The US condemns China's continuing assault on democratic institutions in Hong Kong, he said.

The changes will allow Hong Kong to "resolve the problem of the LegCo making everything political in recent years and effectively deal with the reckless moves or internal rift that have torn Hong Kong apart", the territory's chief executive, Carrie Lam, said in a statement.

The legislators gathered in the Great Hall of the People burst into sustained applause when the 2,895 to 0 vote tally, with one abstention, was projected onto screens.

China will increase the size of the electoral committee from 1,200 to 1,500, and the legislature from 70 to 90 seats. Meanwhile, a vetting mechanism will be set up to ensure the city's lawmaking body is run by what the government describes as "patriots".

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.

The statement comes as a major diplomatic row has worsened between London and Beijing, initiated by China introducing a National Security Law for Hong Kong, which came into force on 30 June 2020, and exacerbated by electoral reforms in late February aimed at strengthening Beijing's control in the special administrative region. Under that law, 47 former legislators and other pro-democracy figures have been arrested on subversion charges that carry a possible maximum penalty of life in prison.

"It is natural and essential to require people vested with governing powers to be patriotic, which is also part and parcel of basic political ethics and a principle that applies everywhere in the world".

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang congratulate the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) on March 11, 2021, at the People's Forum in Beijing, China.

The planned electoral changes have drawn worldwide condemnation from the USA, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The United States on Thursday condemned Chinese moves to change Hong Kong's electoral system and forecast "difficult" talks with Beijing's top diplomats next week, when the genocide Washington says China is committing against minority Muslims will be an issue the USA side plans to raise.

"It's a pity that we today have probably gone back to where we were in the early days after the handover", Chan told public broadcaster RTHK.

According to the Basic Law, the city's constitution, the "ultimate aim" for Hong Kong was to achieve universal suffrage in a "gradual and orderly manner" in accordance with democratic values and processes.

Facebook has scrapped plans to connect California, Taiwan and Hong Kong via a 12,000 kilometer underwater cable, citing tensions between the USA and China.

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