Beijing official signals Hong Kong electoral reforms to ensure 'patriots' govern

'Controlled by patriots': Chinese official signals changes to Hong Kong election rules

The Bill potentially paves the way for the mass disqualification of pro-democracy politicians who took nearly 90 per cent of 452 district council seats in Hong Kong in the 2019 elections, defeating the pro-Beijing camp.

A top Chinese official on Monday outlined plans to ensure only "patriots" run Hong Kong as Beijing seeks to neuter any remaining democratic opposition and take a more direct role in how the business hub is run.

According to a discussion paper prepared for Monday's meeting by the European External Action Service, the EU should explore options such as asking all EU member countries to terminate their extradition treaties with China, and planning high-level joint visits to Hong Kong.

"Different political opinions are allowed in this country which implements socialist democracy, but there is a red line: one should never do anything that harms the country's fundamental system; that is, to do something that harms the socialist system led by the Chinese Communist Party", he said.

In comments to Lam in late January, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Hong Kong should be governed by "patriots" in order to ensure the city's stability following unprecedented unrest in 2019.

Also, there have been certain specific descriptions laid out for those "who are and who are not patriots", for example, those who attack the central government in a hysterical manner, openly advocate for "Hong Kong independence" and beg for foreign sanctions against the city certainly are not patriots.

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Navalny is best known for his anti-corruption investigations and was recently the subject of an assassination attempt. Russian opposition leader and Putin critic, Alexey Navalny , likely to be sent to prison camp.

Western governments and critics accuse Beijing of shredding that commitment in recent years.

Beijing is considering eliminating the 117 Election Committee seats held by District Councilors, many of them members of the pro-democracy camp, local media has reported.

"We are very determined, very committed to rolling out a free and universal vaccination program for the people of Hong Kong so that we could get ourselves out of this epidemic as soon as possible", Lam said to reporters after she was inoculated.

What form electoral reform might take remains to be seen.

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam welcomed Xia's speech and rejected concerns that dissenting voices were being oppressed.

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