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International News

Mar 04, 2021

China to discuss a draft decision on improving electoral system of Hong Kong

AIR Pics
Chinese lawmakers will advance a proposal to overhaul Hong Kong’s electoral system, pushing ahead with a controversial plan to limit the opposition’s ability to win public office in the Asian financial hub. Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the fourth annual session of the 13th NPC, made the remarks in this regard on Thursday at a press conference, one day before the top legislature's annual session begins. The National People's Congress (NPC) will deliberate a draft decision on improving the electoral system of the HKSAR during the upcoming session, according to an agenda published Thursday by the Chinese state News Agency. 

The largely rubber-stamp parliament is slated to begin a week-long series of annual meetings Friday in Beijing, meaning the measure could pass as soon as next week. China's top political advisory body, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), started its meetings on Thursday.

The action is the latest step by Chinese government to have more control in the former British colony following historically large and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests in 2019. The National People’s Congress imposed a sweeping national security law on the city last year and used it to arrest some 100 opposition figures, former lawmakers and activists, drawing criticism from business groups and sanctions from the U.S. government. In recent weeks, Chinese officials have called for further actions to ensure “patriots” govern Hong Kong and conducted meetings in the mainland city of Shenzhen to discuss changes to the election system.
While the committee that elected Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam in 2017 has long been dominated by Beijing loyalists, opposition candidates achieved landslide wins in District Council elections last year. A chance to build on that success got away after the government delayed an election for the more prominent Legislative Council in September and the entire opposition was either disqualified or resigned. Many lawmakers were among 47 opposition figures charged Sunday with “conspiracy to commit subversion,” in Hong Kong’s most dramatic use yet of the security law. They are being prosecuted over their roles in a primary vote in July that the government argues amounted to a subversive plot to paralyze the government.

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