Hong Kong electoral reform: LegCo passes ‘patriots’ law

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Hong Kong has passed a controversial electoral reform law, aimed at keeping people China deems “unpatriotic” from positions of political power.

The reform will allow a pro-China panel to vet and elect candidates, reducing democratic representation.

Critics warn it is designed to remove all opposition from the city’s parliament, allowing Beijing to tighten its control over Hong Kong.

It is the latest measure designed to crack down on dissent in Hong Kong.

Since the electoral reform law was initiated by the Chinese government in March, it has drawn widespread international condemnation, including from the US, the EU and UK.

On Thursday the bill was passed by an overwhelming majority in Hong Kong’s parliament, the Legislative Council (LegCo), which has been dominated by pro-Beijing lawmakers since a mass opposition walkout last year.

The bill will be signed into law soon by city executive Carrie Lam, who has said that the new vetting committee will not discriminate against people for their political views, but rather weed out any “non-patriots”.

Over the past year a growing number of pro-democracy activists and politicians have been arrested under a separate national security law that came into effect last year.

Agencies
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