It seems that the elections in Hong Kong will be postponed for another year, until September 2022, and Beijing intends to disassemble Hong Kong‘s electoral system.
Wang Chen, Vice-President of the People’s Congress, took an advance on the announced reforms. According to him, these are necessary because of “loopholes and shortcomings” within the current system, in which ‘destabilising and anti-Chinese elements’ would have undermined national security.
With the new electoral system, the Chinese Government wants to ensure that “patriots” are at the helm of all public authorities in the former British colony.
Under the new system, the number of seats in the mini-parliament would be increased from 70 to 90, and at present half of the 70 elected representatives are directly elected by the people. The rest of the seats are occupied by representatives of certain industries, unions and districts predominantly pro-Beijing.
Nail to the coffin
China wants to expand that part of parliament. Wang also said that Hong Kong‘s supreme boss is given the power to directly designate parliamentarians. “Many people already feared this in the pro-democracy camp in Hong Kong,” says correspondent Sjoerd den Daas. “The little bit of democracy there was now wants to destroy China definitively.”
The leader of Hong Kong will also be able to decide who can stand for election. “Then there is a chance that people who say something that is considered non-patriotic may not be on the list. It will all be politicians moderated by the leader. According to activists, this is the nail to the coffin of mini-democracy in Hong Kong.”
Major protests and security law
Beijing’s new step follows the massive protests in Hong Kong in 2019, when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets for weeks. To curb this turmoil, China took control last year and a strict security law was introduced.
This law has resulted in many demonstrators and politicians of the pro-democracy movement being lost behind bars. The elections were also postponed, officially due to the coronavirus. People behind the movement hoped to win a majority there.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam supports the changes to the electoral system. She says that it is a “requirement that Hong Kong be led by patriots” and that the changes restore order and authority.