China approves reform of Hong Kong’s electoral system, which will be a severe blow to already limited democracy

Beijing has implemented these reforms by bypassing the Hong Kong Legislative Council.

Although part of China, Hong Kong has the status of a special administrative district with extensive autonomy, a different judicial system and its citizens enjoy wider rights than mainland China.

Following widespread and often violent protests against Beijing’s control in 2019, China has purposefully suppressed dissidents and pro-democracy supporters in the city.

China’s official news agency, Xinhua, reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping has signed orders to announce amendments, but the content of the law has not yet been made public.

Hong Kong’s only delegate to the Chinese parliament said the new law would expand the Hong Kong Legislative Council from 70 to 90 seats, but only 20 of those seats would be distributed by direct universal suffrage. In the past, 35 members were elected by direct universal suffrage.

Under the new law, 40 members will be nominated by the Beijing-controlled election committee, and the remaining 30 members will be chosen by committees representing specific sectors and interest groups. These committees are also usually loyal to Beijing.

The political views of all candidates will be assessed by a committee set up by the Hong Kong authorities, and the Hong Kong security authorities will have a say in the process, Hong Kong’s only delegate to the Chinese parliament said.

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