Some Hong Kong legislators support a bill that will prevent many pro-democracy candidates from running for office.
According to the Associated Press, pro-Beijing MPs applauded the passing of a bill in Hong Kong’s legislature on Thursday that modifies the law to make it more difficult for pro-democracy candidates to run for office.
The bill, which passed 40-2, authorizes the city’s national security department to conduct background checks on potential candidates and establishes a committee to guarantee that they are “patriotic.”
During the debate on Wednesday and Thursday, pro-Beijing politicians expressed support for the bill, claiming that revisions will prohibit people who are not loyal to Hong Kong from running for office.
Some have noted that a number of bills affecting people’s livelihoods have passed with greater ease this year than in 2020, when pro-democracy parliamentarians would filibuster or interrupt sessions to impede the passage of laws they disagreed with.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
Last year, pro-democracy legislators quit en masse in protest of the removal of four MPs judged insufficiently loyal to Beijing.
The bill’s passing was “unhappy” for Lo Kin-hei, chairman of Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy party.
“We are upset with the way the government is modifying the electoral system because we can see that the representation of Hong Kong residents in the Legislative Council or in the institution as a whole is much lower than before, which is not good for Hong Kong,” Lo told the Associated Press.
Lo said his Democratic Party has not yet determined whether or not to run in the December legislative elections.
The reforms to Hong Kong’s elections come as Beijing strengthens its grip on the semi-autonomous city, which has been wracked by anti-government protests and political conflict for months.
Most of the city’s outspoken pro-democracy activists have been jailed and charged, including Joshua Wong, a student leader in the 2014 demonstrations, and media mogul Jimmy Lai, who created the Apple Daily newspaper.
In March, China’s rubber-stamp parliament approved reforms to the city’s electoral system, prompting Hong Kong’s suggestions.
They are the most recent in a series of measures aimed at ensuring that those elected to public office or serving in the city remain loyal to Beijing. An earlier amendment passed by the legislature. This is a condensed version of the information.