Wednesday, 05 May, 2021


Chinese lawmakers endorse tighter control over Hong Kong

China moves to tighten control over Hong Kong's electoral system HK vows to revise poll laws – The Manila Times
Noah Ferguson | 12 March, 2021, 03:45

Hong Kong news reports suggested the committee would also pick one-third of the members of the Legislative Council, or LegCo, the governing body in the territory.

The controversial overhaul of Hong Kong's electoral system, which comes amid an intensifying crackdown in the city, will give a pro-Beijing committee more power to choose Hong Kong's lawmakers.

The election committee is responsible for choosing Hong Kong's Chief Executive and numerous members of the legislative council (LegCo).

Creating a more suitable electoral system for Hong Kong is an urgent matter, essential for safeguarding the long-term stability and prosperity of this major global financial hub.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam pledged "staunch support" for the electoral reforms in a statement, adding that the measures are aimed at strengthening the "One Country, Two Systems" policy which is created to get the region "back on the right track".

More seats for Beijing loyalists, fewer for opposition candidates.

The changes virtually eliminate any possibility of the opposition affecting the outcome of elections in the former British colony, whose return to Chinese rule in 1997 came with a promise of a high degree of autonomy.

Although details of the composition of the expanded seats are awaited, it is clear that under the proposed changes the unpatriotic will be ousted and Hong Kong will be ruled by patriots.

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.

"You can not say you love the country but you don't respect [the Chinese Communist Party]", Erick Tsang, Hong Kong's secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, told The Washington Post in February.

"It's not to screen out the opposition.it's about upholding the important principle of patriots administering Hong Kong", she said.

The move is a "setback" for Hong Kong's progress on democratic development since 1997, said Bernard Chan, a top advisor to city leader Carrie Lam, this week.

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the space for democratic debate was being "hollowed out".

A Beijing-controlled election committee in the city would also be tasked with "electing a large proportion of legislative council members", he added, referring to the city's LegCo assembly.

"Over the last 23 years, we clearly didn't do a good job to show to the central government that these so-called political reforms are actually helping "one country, two systems", Chan told AFP.

The draft decision said the move will help "develop a democratic system in line with Hong Kong's actual situation" and protect residents' "rights to vote and be voted", according to state news agency Xinhua.

Beijing had promised universal suffrage as an ultimate goal for Hong Kong in its mini-constitution, the Basic Law.

Last June, Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law that criminalises anything Chinese authorities deem to be secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign collusion.

Several pro-democracy leaders have been arrested under the law.

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