Hong Kong Election 2021

Regional News • Asia • China
China's leadership adopts electoral reform for Hong Kong
China's leadership adopts electoral reform for Hong Kong
Credit: unsplash.com / Ruslan Bardash

China continues to expand its influence over Hong Kong. An electoral law reform gives Beijing control over candidate selection in the Special Administrative Region's parliamentary elections, allowing it to exclude candidates who are not considered loyal.

President Xi Jinping ordered the publication of the electoral law change on Tuesday, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported. The changes to the Special Administrative Region's electoral system were approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong's sole delegate, told the AFP news agency.

China's People's Congress had launched the amendment to the Special Administrative Region's electoral law in mid-March. It is intended to ensure that Hong Kong can only be run by "patriots". In this way, Beijing wants to gain control over the selection of candidates. Among other things, the Chinese leadership is to be given veto rights to be able to exclude certain candidates.

Regional News • Asia • China
Electoral reform: China's People's Congress votes to change Hong Kong's electoral law
Hong Kong skyline
Hong Kong skyline Credit: Mark Huguet

According to the decision of the People's Congress, which was published by the state news agency Xinhua, the committee to elect the Hong Kong chief executive should be enlarged from 1,200 to 1,500 members. "This is the latest move by Beijing to erode space for democratic debate in Hong Kong, contrary to promises made by China," British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, according to a statement. Following the enactment of the controversial security law last year, the election reform is another blow to Hong Kong's liberal system.

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Hong Kong district councilors will be required to swear allegiance to government or face election ban
Hong Kong district councilors will be required to swear allegiance to government or face election ban
Credit: 立場新聞, Copyrighted free use, via Wikimedia Commons

The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang announced on Tuesday that Hong Kong will introduce new requirements for district councilors to take an oath swearing to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the government. Behaviours that would be deemed incompliant include committing acts that endanger national security, as well as any refusal to recognise China's sovereignty over Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong police has arrested 53 pro-democracy activists
Hong Kong police has arrested 53 pro-democracy activists
Credit: Studio Incendo / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Hong Kong media reported that 53 pro-democracy activists have been arrested in connection with the unofficial primaries held last year by opposition forces ahead of the election to the Legislative Council, Hong Kong's parliament, which was later canceled due to the Corona pandemic. According to the report, those arrested were accused of endangering the state by participating in the primaries and the goals pursued there, and thus of violating the security law introduced at the end of June.