Prior to these changes, Hong Kong’s 70-seat legislature was more or less divided between directly elected seats and so-called functional constituencies, seats chosen by commercial and industrial bodies that generally favor Beijing’s allies. In theory, opposition parties could gain a majority in the body, taking almost all elected seats and a handful of functional constituencies, allowing them to have a say in how the city is governed.
Those hoping to run for those seats will face another hurdle: they must secure nominations from each of the five sectors of the electoral commission, which may be impossible for all but a handful of opposition candidates.
This security law had already had a marked effect on city politics, with nearly all prominent lawmakers and pro-democracy activists arrested for allegedly breaking it by participating in a primary election ahead of the legislative elections scheduled in last September.
The hope for the organizers of the primary was to clear up the field of opposition candidates, concentrate the votes and give them a better chance – albeit still outward, statistically – of winning a majority in the legislature. Some figures had suggested that an opposition majority could block the government’s budget and possibly even force CEO Carrie Lam to resign.
Speaking earlier this month, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said “there is no so-called international standard of democracy. Every democracy needs to address the proper context of this. particular country, or that particular place “.
“We are improving the electoral system by making sure that whoever governs and administers Hong Kong in the future will be someone who loves the country, who loves Hong Kong,” she added.
The United States, meanwhile, described Beijing’s decision as an “attack on democracy in Hong Kong.”
“These actions deprive Hong Kong people of a voice in their own governance by limiting political participation, reducing democratic representation and stifling political debate,” he added. “Beijing’s actions also go against the clear recognition of the Basic Law that elections in Hong Kong should progress towards universal suffrage.”
Report written by Jadyn Sham in Hong Kong and CNN Beijing office.
You Can Read Also