The Standing Committee of the ANP, the highest organ of power in China, unanimously supports the most significant restructuring of the Hong Kong electoral system
- Pekn Chinese Parliament approves reform of Hong Kong’s electoral system
- Asia Oscars will not be broadcast in Hong Kong for the first time in over 50 years due to Chinese censorship
Among the Oscar-nominated documentaries to be held in Los Angeles on April 25, there is one starring a group of protesters who confronted the Hong Kong police during the 2019 protests. The short, ‘Do Not Split’ , tells in 36 minutes the vision of the part that asked for more democratic tools in one of the financial centers of the world.
The projection reviews the massive peaceful marches against a bill that allows the extradition of fugitives to mainland China, as well as what later became violence with deaths and images where fire prevailed over dialogue. In those months before the coronavirus hit the front pages of newspapers, there was talk in Hong Kong of fighting to extend civil liberties. Even to have a complete universal suffrage so that the people could elect the head of the local Executive and that he was not appointed from Beijing.
Two years later, what remains of those hopes, of that Hong Kong as an Asian tiger with an autonomous status, is only found in documentaries such as ‘Do Not Split’, which not even Hong Kong citizens will be able to see on their television if wins or not an Oscar. For the first time in more than 50 years, the TVB channel did not broadcast the gala. The official reason is for “business reasons.” Although, according to some local media, the Chinese authorities asked the televisions to carry out a minimum coverage of the gala “for the sake of political correctness.”
Hong Kong changed when on July 1 of last year the National Security Law, approved by the Chinese Parliament, which punishes crimes such as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life imprisonment, which Beijing interprets in its own way. What followed was the arrest of hundreds of activists who led the pro-democracy protests of 2019 and the resignation en bloc of all the deputies opposed to Beijing, many of whom were arrested in February and March and They are being tried for “subversion.”
The last step to take control of the former British colony was taken on March 11, when the National People’s Assembly (PNA), China’s most important annual political conclave, approved – with 2,895 in favor, one abstention and none against. – comprehensive reform of the Hong Kong electoral system.
According to the official papers: “The measures include the improvement of functions and roles of the Electoral Committee to elect the legislators of the Legislative Council (LegCo) and the executive director of the region, as well as expanding the scope of the candidates to make the elections more representative. To fill the gaps by eliminating unqualified participants in Hong Kong’s political life, a commission of investigation of candidatures of all the process will be established “.
That is to say, according to new measures that reduce the number of directly elected seats in Parliament by almost half, anyone who presents his candidacy to enter the Hong Kong legislature must be examined by a committee. That organ, according to Chinese officials, must ensure that the city is ruled by “patriots”. That excludes all previous lawmakers who participated in the 2019 protests, as well as activists prosecuted under the new national security law.
What has happened this Tuesday has been that the Permanent Committee of the ANP, the highest body of power, has unanimously supported in a new vote the approval of this reform that aims to reduce the number of representatives elected directly at the polls and the number of legislators approved by Beijing increases. These measures represent the most significant restructuring of Hong Kong’s electoral system since the former colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Under the new law, the Hong Kong legislature will be expanded from 70 to 90 seats. The number of representatives elected by suffrage will drop from 35 to 20; 40 will be elected by a Beijing committeeThe so-called “functional constituencies” will be in charge of the remaining 30, which the AFP agency describes as “bodies representing certain industries and special interest groups that have historically been loyal to Beijing.”
In July of last year, Carrie Lam, the head of the Hong Kong Executive, announced that she is postponing the elections to the Legislative Council (Legco) scheduled for September 6, 2020 by one year due to the third wave of coronavirus that hit the city. Those elections, finally, will be held next December, with the electoral reform already applied, which only allow citizens to choose 20 of the 90 total seats, which makes it impossible to have a wide presence in the hemicycle of pro-democracy parties.
The last time Hong Kong saw its citizens go to the polls was in December 2019, in the district council elections. There was a record participation of 71.2% of the census. The anti-government parties, the pro-democratic opposition, won 388 seats out of the 452 at stake. The ruling party, aligned with Beijing, was left with 59 councilors, 233 less than in previous local elections.
Those elections did not really have any political significance. What was voted on were the links between citizens and the local government. They can’t even make laws. But what was at stake was much more, a plebiscite to the pro-Beijing authorities, a sample with ballots of real support for the protests that shook the city that year.
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Source site www.elmundo.es