Beijing has endorsed a radical overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system as part of its efforts to consolidate its increasingly authoritarian hold over the global financial center.
The new measures include reducing the number of directly elected seats and ensuring that a majority of the city’s lawmakers will be selected by a reliable pro-Beijing committee.
The new measures, which bypassed the Hong Kong legislature and were imposed directly by Beijing, are the latest move to wipe out the city’s democratic movement after huge protests.
Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong’s sole delegate to the Chinese rubber stamp parliament, told Agence France-Presse that the changes were unanimously adopted by 167 members of the People’s Congress Standing Committee. national.
China’s state-run news agency Xinhua said in a short report, “President Xi Jinping has signed the presidential orders to promulgate the amended annexes.”
However, Hong Kong’s 7.5 million people are still not sure what the new law contains, and no details have yet been released.
Maria Tam, a senior politician who works with the Chinese parliament on Hong Kong issues, told Reuters that the Hong Kong election committee, tasked with selecting the city’s chief executive, would choose 40 representatives from the Hong Kong legislature. city under the changes approved by the National. Standing Committee of the People’s Congress.
The number of directly elected representatives to the city’s legislature will drop from 35 to 20 as part of the changes, Tam added. The size of the legislature will be reduced from 70 to 90.
Beijing will also increase the size of the electoral committee from 1,200 to 1,500, as part of the restructuring. Chinese officials said the reshuffle was aimed at eliminating “loopholes and loopholes” that threatened national security during the anti-government unrest in 2019 and ensuring that only “patriots” rule the city.
Anyone running for office will also need to be screened for their political views.
Tam Yiu-chung said the selection committee will be created by Hong Kong officials and the city’s new national security apparatus will have a say in who gets approved.
“The National Security Committee and the National Security Police will provide reports on each candidate to assist the review by the Qualifications Review Board,” he said.
These measures constitute the most significant overhaul of Hong Kong’s political structure since its return to Chinese rule in 1997.
With Reuters and Agence France-presse