China search engine Baidu aims to raise $3bn in Hong Kong listing

Tanya Simon
March 12, 2021

In a news conference following the vote, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the principle of "patriots governing Hong Kong" is clear and the central government will ensure the "accurate and comprehensive" implementation of the "one country, two systems" framework.

President Xi Jinping and other party leaders sat on stage in front of delegates as they cast votes electronically in the cavernous Great Hall of the People.

The United States has condemned China's decision to change Hong Kong's electoral system, calling it "a direct attack on Hong Kong's autonomy, its freedoms and democratic processes".

At last year's meeting of the National People's Congress, the Communist Party leadership imposed a sweeping national security law on the finance hub.

The changes in Hong Kong would give a pro-Beijing committee power to appoint more of its lawmakers, reducing the number elected by the public.

Beijing will increase the size of the electoral committee from 1,200 to 1,500, and the legislature from 70 to 90 seats. Whenever Hong Kong faced a formidable challenge, such as the 1997 Asian financial crisis or the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was Beijing that offered what Hong Kong needed the most.

The new powers place the city "firmly in the hands of forces that are patriotic and love Hong Kong", parliamentary spokesman Wang Chen said.

China moves to tighten control over Hong Kong's electoral system

The turbulence in Hong Kong is why Beijing enacted the national security law in HKSAR a year ago, and made the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" a prerequisite in electing the city's future administrators and members of local legislatures. He said the changes would "safeguard national security" in the territory and support "prosperity and stability". Under that law, 47 former legislators and other pro-democracy figures have been arrested on subversion charges that carry a possible maximum penalty of life in prison.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam pledged "staunch support" for the electoral reforms in a statement, adding that the measures are aimed at strengthening the "One Country, Two Systems" policy which is created to get the region "back on the right track".

The improvement of Hong Kong's electoral system will ensure the smooth functioning of the SAR government by eliminating the space for secessionists, subversives and radical localists to mislead people at the behest of their foreign patrons.

"Beijing wants to exert very tight control", she added.

Facebook has scrapped plans to connect California, Taiwan and Hong Kong via a 12,000 kilometer underwater cable, citing tensions between the US and China.

In response to whether the LegCo election scheduled for September 5 would be further postponed, Lam said as the Election Committee has been entrusted with new functions, she could not say decisively that the election would be held on time, however, in line with procedures, the election for the Election Committee should be held before the LegCo election.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs pushed back, comparing activists in Hong Kong to those who overran the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in an effort to prevent the certification of the presidential election results.

China’s parliament approves plan to reform Hong Kong’s electoral system
Since those protests started, most high-profile democratic politicians and activists have been sent to jail or are in self-exile. A general view shows the closing session of the National Peoples Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing .

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