Leader Carrie Lam of Hong Kong offered her clear support to electoral reform in the city on Tuesday (Feb 23), a day after a leading official from Beijing reported significant changes to ensure that it was run by “patriots”
Lam stated that there were always some people in China who are “rather hostile” to the central authorities, including anti-government protests in 2019 and protests in 2014.
“I can understand that the central authorities are very concerned, they do not want the situation to deteriorate further in such a way that ‘one country, two systems’ cannot be implemented,” said Lam at a regular news briefing.
The framework of ‘one country, two systems’ permits civil rights which are not found on the continent in Hong Kong and were promised in 1997, after the British returned territory to the China. Demonstrators said the freedoms of Hong Kong were eroded as Beijing was looking for more control.
Her comments came a day after Xia Baolong, the Hong Kong Director and the State Council Director of the Macao Affairs Office, declared that Hong Kong can only be governed by “patriots.”
Election changes will likely be discussed and approved at the National People’s Congress, the Chinese parliamentary assembly and its advisory body, the People’s Political Advisory Conference next month (CPPCC).
They will probably take the form of redistributing votes in Hong Kong’s 1200-member electoral committee, subject to Beijing’s veto.
Elected district councilors, many of whom are critic of Beijing, are among those most likely to lose their voting rights. Their rights to vote will probably be given to CPPCC representatives of Hong Kong to ensure they comply with the instructions from Beijing.
It is still unclear whether in the next poll the second five-yr term will be sought by Lam, the highly unpopular Hong Kong resident.
Another option is that, in the elections for the members of the Legislative Council, China would close what it calls ‘loophols’ and that is now wholly dominated by pro-Peijing legislators, since opposition members resigned in mass last year when four were expelled for insufficient loyalty to the government.
In a move largely seen as designed to prevent opposition victance, Lam postponed last year’s council elections citing concerns concerning COVID-19.