China on Tuesday carried out a major legislative restructuring in Hong Kong, slashing the number of elected seats in an effort to give Beijing more leverage over the legislative body and enforce an anti-democratic national security law it last imposed on Summer. The changes, announced after a two-day meeting of China’s highest legislature, would increase the number of seats to 90 but reduce the number of seats elected to 20.
The maneuver is part of China’s strategy, the political To combat opposition from the Chinese Communist Party in the former British colony by giving the CCP the authority to review democratic representation in the international financial center.
« It is a very sad day for Hong Kong. The electoral system is completely dismantled » Former Democratic Party member Emily Lau told As sociated Press.
« You will get rid of the opposition votes because under this new system that is so oppressive and restrictive, I don’t think a self-respecting person would want to participate, » said Lau.
Pro Democracy groups have been taking to the streets since 2019 against a Chinese law that would have allowed offenders in Hong Kong to be extradited to trial in the mainland.
With the legislative restructuring, a Review committee set up to review candidates’ qualifications to ensure the city is ruled by « patriots. » CCP-backed Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the new committee will include government officials trusted by the Chinese central government , and denied allegations that they will interfere in the democratic process, elect their elected lawmakers, and restrict voting.
» I can also say very categorically that the central government is very sincere to give the people of Hong Kong so-called more democracy, that is, universal suffrage, « said Lam.
However, the Democratic Party said Beijing’s efforts were only one an obvious attempt to keep her out of office.
The chairman, Lo Kin-hei, questioned whether the new electoral system « can actually reflect what Hong Kong people think and what Hong Kong people believe ».
He said the changes had already raised doubts among party members about their willingness to vote. .
« All of these changes will affect how we discuss and how our party members feel about the electoral system and whether or not we will run for elections in the future, » said Lo.
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