Activist Nathan Law has condemned China’s latest move to reduce the number of directly elected seats in Hong Kong’s legislature, saying that democracy is being denied and citizens are being “humiliated” in the city.
“No free and fair elections in Hong Kong anymore. Candidates are vetted by the political police. Most seats are reserved for pro-CCP colluders. Democracy is denied and citizens are humiliated, showing how CCP destroys civility and liberties. The world should act now,” Law said in a tweet on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, China unanimously approved the most controversial overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system, which will slash the number of directly elected seats in the city’s legislature from half to about one-fifth.
The proposal was approved by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, granting the Election Committee with new power to send 40 representatives to the Legislative Council, which has been expanded from 70 to 90 seats.
Under the new proposal, the Hong Kong Legislative Council’s geographical constituencies will be reduced from 35 to 20 seats, which dramatically diminishes the element of direct voting.
The national security police unit would help scrutinise candidates and submit a report to the newly formed vetting committee.
The powerful new committee that will vet candidates for Hong Kong’s most important elections will be kept to fewer than 10 people and members decided by two groups overseeing national security.
The committee would have an odd number of people and the chairman would act as the tiebreaker, said a source. Furthermore, no judicial review or appeal of the body’s decisions will be allowed for candidates and the newly empowered Election Committee will also be expanded by 300 members.
The new members will include patriotic groups and members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) to further reinforce the pro-establishment camp’s control of the body.
China’s recent step has raised concerns that Beijing might be rejecting the ‘one country two systems’ made to Hong Kong in 1997. Despite fierce international condemnation, China approved the contentious resolution, a move that critics say could further smother opposition voices in Hong Kong.