Chinese National People’s Congress Votes 2,895-0 To Ensure ‘Patriotism’ Of Hong Kong Government
Every member but one of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) voted in favor of an elections law that places Hong Kong’s government further under the control of Beijing.
The NPC voted 2,895-0, with one abstention, to approve the law, which ensures that only those loyal to the Chinese Communist Party will serve in the Hong Kong government. It also increases the size of Hong Kong’s governing bodies.
Chinese lawmakers approved an extensive overhaul of how Hong Kong chooses its leaders, a momentous step in Beijing’s efforts to curb opposition in the city https://t.co/lRcyLJoPOx
— Bloomberg (@business) March 11, 2021
The bill expands Hong Kong’s election committee, which chooses the city’s chief executive, from 1,200 to 1,500 members. The 300 new members will be members of either the NPC or the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the South China Morning Post reported. The bill also expands Hong Kong’s Legislative Council from 70 to 90 members, and creates a committee that will ensure that candidates to both the election committee and the Legislative Council are sufficiently “patriotic.”
“When we talk about patriotism, we are not talking about the abstraction of loving a cultural or historical China, but rather loving the currently existing People’s Republic of China under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party,” Song Ru’an, deputy commissioner of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong, told reporters, according to CNN. (RELATED: Man Arrested For Holding Hong Kong Independence Flag During Demonstration Against New Chinese Law)
“Patriots should respect the Chinese Communist Party.”
NPC votes are tightly managed by the Chinese Communist Party. The Congress has never voted down a legislative proposal, the SCMP noted, so the number of “no” votes and abstentions are indicative of the level of support for the proposal.
China began its crackdown on Hong Kong, a British protectorate until 1997, in 2020, after massive protests forced Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to withdraw a bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China. China responded by revoking the city’s ability to handle national security and creating a commission to monitor dissidents.
Democracy advocates widely criticized the bill, suggesting that it would lead to the end of a free Hong Kong. Avery Ng, an opposition leader, told CBS News that the legislation would lead to the “full-on assimilation” of Hong Kong into mainland China.
The changes will make the Hong Kong legislature “less and less representative of the Hong Kong people and they will just be some loyalists who can do nothing and who cannot represent the Hong Kong people at all,” Lo Kin-hei, chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic Party, told the New York Times.