China moves to overhaul Hong Kong politics, squeezing democratic opposition
A draft decision to change Hong Kong’s electoral system was approved in China’s parliament on Thursday. The draft changes reduce democratic representation in the city’s institutions and allows a mechanism to vet politicians’ loyalty to Beijing. Beijing is trying to consolidate its increasingly authoritarian grip over Hong Kong after the passing of a national security law in January.
Beijing is responding to the protests in Hong Kong in 2019 that were pro-democracy and were seen as a threat to national security. Since 2019, high-profile democratic politicians and activists have been exiled or jailed. The changes in this draft eliminate any possibility of the opposition in Hong Kong from affecting the outcome of the elections. The requirement for “patriotism” in the candidate brings the concert that politicians will begin competing over loyalty to Beijing rather than ideas for government.