Hong Kong’s electoral system is undergoing a significant overhaul. The Chinese parliament gave the green light on Thursday and reported the South China Morning Post newspaper.
Critics fear that the pro-democracy opposition in the former British crown colony will now be further sidelined.
The newspaper writes that it paved the way for the most extensive electoral reform in the metropolis since 1997. The United Kingdom handed over Hong Kong to the Communist People’s Republic in that year. It promised that Hong Kong would receive autonomous status for another half-century. The city has its legal system and parliament, although the voter directly elects not all parliamentarians.
China previously introduced a controversial security law and is now further tightening its grip on Hong Kong. State media reports that the electoral college composition that selects Hong Kong’s top executive is being changed. Hundreds of members are added who are seen as pro-Beijing. Seats that are now reserved for local Hong Kong administrators are expected to be scrapped. These politicians often belong to the opposition camp.
Besides, there will be a committee that will judge candidates for the electoral college and parliament of Hong Kong. In effect, this means that members who are seen as insufficiently “patriotic” can soon be banned. The Hong Kong parliament will also receive dozens of more seats.
According to the newspaper, the Chinese parliament, the National People’s Congress, has authorized its Standing Committee to develop the reforms further.