China has passed a resolution to control Hong Kong elections and install ‘patriots’ loyal to Beijing

Local natives of Hong Kong participate in a flash mob march to show solidarity with the 47 pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong who were charged for state subversion due to them organizing and taking part in a primary election, in Santa Monica, California on March 7, 2021. (Photo by RINGO CHIU / AFP) (Photo by RINGO CHIU/AFP via Getty Images)
Local natives of Hong Kong participate in a flash mob march to show solidarity with the 47 pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong who were charged for state subversion due to them organizing and taking part in a primary election, in Santa Monica, California on March 7, 2021. RINGO CHIU/AFP via Getty Images
  • China has approved a plan to make sure “patriots” who are friendly to China will run Hong Kong
  • It comes as Beijing tightens its grip on the country and continues to crack down on dissidents.
  • A state media report said the changes would ‘ensure the administration of Hong Kong by Hong Kong people with patriots as the main body.’
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China has approved a plan to make sure “patriots” who are friendly to China will run Hong Kong as it tightens its grip on the country and cracks down on dissidents.

The National People’s Congress on Thursday passed a resolution which will dramatically change Hong Kong’s electoral system, allowing Beijing to install favored candidates and quash opposition voices.

A state media report of the draft resolution said that the changes would “ensure the administration of Hong Kong by Hong Kong people with patriots as the main body,” according to Xinhua News Agency, which is a partially state-owned Chinese media outlet.

The measures are designed to reduce the number of opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong’s legislature and increase the number of officials who are friendly to China.

Hong Kong’s legislative council will be expanded from 70 members to 90, whose members will be elected through elections and by the Election Committee, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The changes will also see the introduction of a “candidate review qualification committee” which would in effect allow Beijing to veto opposition candidates.

The South China Morning Post also reported that 117 seats elected by Hong Kong’s district councilors, which mostly comprise members of the opposition, will also be scrapped, in a further measure that to reduce the opposition’s influence.

China's President Xi Jinping, center left, and lawmakers gather as the result of a vote in favour of a resolution to overhaul Hong Kong's electoral system is shown on a monitor, after it was approved during the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People on March 11, 2021 in Beijing, China. The annual political gatherings of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, known as the Two Sessions, brings together China's leadership and lawmakers to set the blueprint for the coming year. It is considered the most important event on the governments calendar and offers a rare glimpse at what President Xi Jinping and top officials see as priorities. With the pandemic largely under control in China, discussions this year are expected to signal Beijing's intentions around technology competition, control over Hong Kong, and strategic threats posed by Western countries including the United States. The political meetings, held at the Great Hall of the People at the edge of Tiananmen Square in central Beijing, can typically last for up to two weeks.
China’s President Xi Jinping, center left, and lawmakers gather as the result of a vote in favour of a resolution to overhaul Hong Kong’s electoral system is shown on a monitor. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China announced the plans last week during the National People’s Conference, an annual parliamentary meeting attended by thousands of Chinese lawmakers.

Wang Chen, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, said then that the country should be governed by people who gave “sincere support for the motherland to resume its sovereignty over Hong Kong,” Insider reported.

Chen also said the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong was illegitimate and backed by foreign powers which had “blatantly supported and encouraged anti-Chinese sentiments in Hong Kong while providing them with an umbrella of protection.”

The resolution comes as part of a wider crackdown by Beijing on democracy in Hong Kong, which had enjoyed semi-independence from mainland China for decades.

Beijing last year imposed a security law which allows it to maintain a police presence in the city, and hundreds of pro-democracy protestors have been arrested since.

Dozens more activists were arrested last week, including some of the movement’s most high-profile figures. Hong Kong police said the 47 individuals had been charged with a “conspiracy to commit subversion.”