HK chief welcomes decision on electoral reforms

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China's rubber-stamp parliament voted today for changes to Hong Kong's electoral system including powers to veto candidates, as Beijing moves to establish a "patriotic" government after huge pro-democracy rallies in the city.

How did the NPC vote?

Leading members of the US Congress are calling for more sanctions on China after it ignored foreign critics and passed a new law, reducing the proportion of democratically elected lawmakers in Hong Kong. A total of 2,895 delegates voted in favor of the bill, while no one voted against it.

Ami Bera and others expressed concern over changes sought to be imposed on Hong Kong's electoral system.

Under the Hong Kong changes, a 1,500-member Election Committee would pick the territory's chief executive and an unspecified "relatively large" number of members of its 90-seat legislature.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks while attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the People's Liberation Army and People's Armed Police Force, at the fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress, the top legislature.

The move is seen as a crackdown on the democratic movement and an erosion of the autonomy guaranteed to the city when it was handed over to China in 1997.

How did officials in Hong Kong react?

The controversial overhaul of Hong Kong's electoral system, which comes amid an intensifying crackdown in the city, will give a pro-Beijing committee more power to choose Hong Kong's lawmakers.

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It was welcomed by some, including Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam.

However, Bernard Chan, a senior advisor to Lam, called the move a "setback" for the progress the city had made on democratic development since it was released by the United Kingdom in 1997. Still, he said the changes will "give confidence to the central government" so that the "one country, two systems" framework can carry on.

"The Hong Kong people will be disenfranchised" under the latest changes, said Emily Lau, a former Hong Kong legislator.

China's approval of changes to Hong Kong's electoral system has been condemned by the U.S. as "a direct attack on Hong Kong's freedoms and democratic processes", but China says it aims to place power "firmly in the hands of forces that are patriotic".

In response to whether the LegCo election scheduled for September 5 would be further postponed, Lam said as the Election Committee has been entrusted with new functions, she could not say decisively that the election would be held on time, however, in line with procedures, the election for the Election Committee should be held before the LegCo election.

The reform of Hong Kong's electoral system is the most recent step in an ongoing clam down on civil liberties in the city.

China had promised universal suffrage as an ultimate goal for Hong Kong in its mini-constitution, the Basic Law.

Beijing watered this down in 2020 with the imposition of a national security law - this outlaws broadly defined acts of "sedition, subversion and collusion with foreign powers".

Generally when Hong Kongers are allowed to vote, they vote in droves for pro-democracy candidates. Others went into exile.

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