Hong Kong’s political elite heads to the polls on Sunday.
Within the new highly criticized electoral system, a few thousand politically approved people would ensure that only “patriots” would be elected to the city legislature.
The nearly 5,000 eligible voters will nominate who will sit on the Beijing-friendly Election Commission, which in turn will appoint the head of the Legislative Assembly and 40 of its members.
All Sunday’s elections and the new structure that changed the electoral system in the Hong Kong-based autonomous region were met with heavy criticism.
Britain said last spring that the new system was a breach of the agreement China pledged to follow when the British handed over Hong Kong in 1997, and Hong Kong’s democracy fighters now note that residents are completely cut off from the electoral process.
“Whoever contests the elections will be puppets under Beijing’s complete control,” said activist Nathan Lu, who fled Hong Kong last year.
Sunday elections The first is under the new regime, which Beijing claims is more representative of the will of the people. The council notes that it also has a positive effect for them as “anti-China” votes cannot be elected.
“This is an important election, although the voter turnout is not that large,” said Hong Kong’s Supreme Leader Carrie Lam, adding that the “improvement” ensured “patriots” rule the city.
The 1,500 who will now be elected will appoint in January the Beijing-approved person to lead Legco. Before that, in December, the elected will also designate 40 of the ward’s 90 seats. The committees will review all these matters to ensure their loyalty to Beijing.
30 places were occupied by private groups representing business and private interests, groups known to be loyal to China, according to AFP. Only 20 seats will be filled after further general elections.
The new election law An exit vote was taken during the Chinese Congress in March, according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post with the numbers 167-0.
“The widespread politicization of society and the internal division that has fractured Hong Kong can now be effectively bridged,” Carrie Lam said at the time.
The election law was another blow to democracy in Hong Kong, after the security law passed early last year. This law addresses what Beijing describes as separatism, subversive activity, terrorism, and collusion with hostile foreign powers.
Since then, more than a hundred democracy activists have been arrested in reference to the new law, and more than 50 of them have been prosecuted primarily for expressing their political views.
About 6,000 police were deployed to the city on Sunday to ensure that unrest did not break out. A number of demonstrations were said to have taken place, but at lunchtime local time, no serious incidents had been reported.
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