China tightens grip on Hong Kong due to electoral changes
China’s top law-making body has unveiled plans to ensure only “patriots” can govern Hong Kong, as Beijing tightens its grip on the city with changes to the electoral system. Critics say Beijing is crushing dissent and removing the “one country, two systems” agreement it made with the UK.
A draft decision was submitted to the NPC on Friday morning, said Wang Chen, the vice-chair of the NPC’s standing committee. The text is not yet public, but Chen flagged major changes to parts of Hong Kong’s mini constitution that govern elections, including a change in the size of the committee that elects the chief executive. The changes would also grant the committee new powers to “directly participate in the nomination of all legislative council members”, and establish “a qualification vetting system for the whole process”.
The changes to the electoral system further strengthen Beijing’s grip on Hong Kong, after it announced a sweeping new national security law at last year’s NPC meeting.
Also on Friday, Beijing unveiled its next five-year plan, pledging to lift annual research and development spending by more than 7% until 2025, highlighting a commitment to become self-sufficient as the country clashes with the United States and other countries over technology policy.