China says "patriotism" in Hong Kong means loving the party EJINSIGHT

Grant Boone
March 5, 2021

A Hong Kong court on Thursday ordered all 47 pro-democracy activists charged under a Beijing-imposed national security law to be kept in custody after the Department of Justice appealed an initial decision to grant 15 of them bail.

China's ceremonial legislature will deliberate changes to Hong Kong's electoral system during its annual session, a spokesperson said Thursday, adding to concerns that Beijing intends to shut opposition voices out of the city's political process entirely.

Recent developments showed the electoral system "needs to be improved to implement the principle of "patriots governing Hong Kong", Zhang said".

China had not set a GDP target a year ago owing to uncertainties from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hong Kong dominated headlines during last year's NPC session, when delegates to the chamber endorsed a tough security law created to stamp out dissent in the city.

"The loss of political freedom and autonomy suffered by Hong Kong over the past two years has made that city nearly indistinguishable in many respects from other major Chinese commercial centers like Shanghai and Beijing", Heritage Foundation founder Edwin Feulner wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

A top Chinese lawmaker said Friday that the size, composition and formation of the Election Committee, which now selects Hong Kong's chief executive, would be "adjusted and improved".

Hong Kong's lack of full democracy has been a regular source of political instability and public anger in the territory.

Most high-profile pro-democracy politicians and activists are either in jail or in exile after authorities cracked down on mass anti-government protests in 2019, culminating with the imposition of a national security law a year ago.

'The UK can not be trusted' following Northern Ireland Protocol move
They called for the protocol to be amended following weeks of issues with trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland . Northern Ireland's chief constable Simon Byrne has said he does not believe loyalists are likely to return to violence.

China became the only major country to grow previous year, eking out a multi-decade low 2.3 percent expansion after shutting down most of its economy to fight the coronavirus.

The NPC opens Friday morning with a lengthy address from Premier Li Keqiang reviewing the past year and spelling out priorities for the coming 12 months.

The report said private firms have to stick to the Communist Party's line if they want to succeed in China and are responsible for furthering state objectives.

Li said the government was aiming for 2021 growth in the world's second-biggest economy of "above 6 percent".

China will strive to keep its economy running within an appropriate range during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) period, Li said.

China's official military budget number, however, is widely believed to be lower than true spending.

The detentions have been fiercely criticised by governments in the West, including in Britain and the United States.

Planned or potential legislation during the NPC session includes a proposed revision to wildlife protection laws that would permanently ban eating most wildlife, amid the belief that the pandemic came from an animal host.

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