Hong Kong Clears New Law To Curb Voting Rights

The Hong Kong Legislative Council has approved the controversial bill to reform the city’s electoral system, which is set to increase the number of pro-Beijing lawmakers in the city and reduces the public’s ability to choose elected representatives.

The reforms passed on Thursday, allow the city’s national security department to carry out background checks to ensure candidates for public office are “patriotic”. Besides this, the Legislative Council will also be expanded to 90 seats from 70 through this law.
This comes after China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) in March had passed the resolution by a near-unanimous vote, paving the way for the biggest shake-up to the city’s electoral system since its return to China in 1997.

Under the new electoral system, NPC members and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory body, will be part of the Election Committee in the selection process of the city’s leader next year, reported Xinhua.

Less than a year after imposing the draconian National Security Law, China launched this legislative process for drastic electoral system reform in Hong Kong, which critics say will benefit the pro-establishment camp and further quash the political opposition in the city.

They have also warned that it would limit the space for the opposition in the city and roll back years of effort to liberalise the system, reported South China Morning Post.

In March, the G7 (Group of Seven) countries had expressed “grave concerns” about China’s national legislature approving a resolution to drastically overhaul Hong Kong’s electoral system to ensure only ‘patriots’ can rule the city, a move which would further clamp down on opposition voices in the city. (ANI)

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