HONG KONG (AP) — Elections for Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on Sunday mark the fruits of Beijing’s marketing campaign to rein within the physique that had as soon as stored it from imposing its unrestrained will over the semi-autonomous territory.
Since the town was handed over from British to Chinese rule in 1997, with a promise by Beijing to maintain Western-style freedoms for 50 years, calls for for expanded democracy impressed protest actions in 2014 and 2019. But they have been largely ignored and subsequently crushed by safety forces.
Here’s a have a look at the occasions that resulted within the dramatic adjustments to Hong Kong’s electoral system:
THE 2014 “UMBRELLA MOVEMENT”
Also known as “Occupy Central” for the business district where pro-democracy protesters gathered, the movement got its name from the umbrellas activists used to shield themselves from police pepper spray. Nearly 1,000 people were arrested in what marked the city’s most tumultuous period since China took control of the territory. A government proposal would have allowed the city’s 5 million eligible voters to vote for the city’s leader for the first time. But the package was rejected by pro-democracy lawmakers and activists because the power to select up to three candidates would remain in the hands of a 1,200-member group of tycoons and other elites viewed as sympathetic to the mainland Chinese government.
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2019 EXTRADITION LAW PROTESTS
The government then withdrew the proposal and current Chief Executive Carrie Lam was selected by an electoral committee. In February 2019, the government introduced an extradition bill it said would plug holes in the territory’s regulations on handing over criminal suspects to jurisdictions where they were wanted, including mainland China. Opponents said that put citizens at risk of being extradited on political charges to the mainland, where legal rights are considerably weaker and where they could face torture and abuse. After street marches and limited clashes between protesters and police, Lam announced she was suspending the bill on June 15, although it was not formally withdrawn until October.
GROWING PROTESTS, VIOLENT CLASHES
The movement snowballed into four demands, including an investigation into police tactics and the release of arrested demonstrators. Some also called for Lam to resign and said they want true universal suffrage. All demands were ignored. On July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover, hardcore demonstrators stormed the legislature. Hundreds of young protesters broke windows, defaced official symbols and spray painted slogans. The council was not in session and officers retreated further inside the building.
As the year wore on, increasingly violent clashes erupted nightly, culminating in November in a lengthy dramatic showdown at Hong Kong Polytechnic University where students had stockpiled homemade incendiaries. Police stormed the campus, arresting more than 1,000 mostly students, and cutting off support for large protest action. Police also arrested senior opposition figures, while the pro-democracy camp won big in elections for district councilors. The movement held a symbolic primary to choose candidates for legislative elections due in September 2020 amid calls to paralyze all parliamentary activities to force concessions. Lam decided to postpone the elections, citing COVID-19 infections.
Chinese officials declared conditions in Hong Kong are no longer conducive for the passage of national security legislation, and the ceremonial national parliament in Beijing will act on it instead. The National People’s Congress on June 30, 2020, passed the National Security Law targeting secessionist, subversive and terrorist activities, as well as collusion with foreign forces, with penalties of up to life imprisonment. Scuffles break out in the Hong Kong legislature, where four lawmakers were disqualified under the provisions of the new law and 15 others resigned in solidarity. Six other lawmakers were expelled earlier after altering their oaths of office.
The Chinese parliament on March 11, 2021, passes a resolution to alter Hong Kong’s election law that many saw as effectively ending the “one country, two systems” framework beneath which Hong Kong was to retain its separate authorized, political and monetary establishments for 50 years. By a vote of two,895-0, with one abstention, the meeting voted to offer a pro-Beijing committee energy to nominate extra of Hong Kong’s lawmakers, decreasing the proportion of these immediately elected, and make sure that solely these actually loyal to Beijing are allowed to run for workplace. The transfer expanded the scale of the chamber from 70 to 90 seats, with members of the Election Committee, a strongly pro-Beijing physique answerable for electing the chief government, making up 40 of these. Another 30 seats are elected by enterprise groupings often called “useful constituencies.” The variety of immediately elected representatives was diminished from 35 to twenty. Five seats elected from amongst district councilors have been abolished altogether.
ONLY PATRIOTS CAN RUN FOR OFFICE
Candidate vetting guidelines included within the adjustments make sure that anybody even suspected of being lower than overwhelming loyal to Beijing might be weeded out. Hong Kong is transferring towards the authoritarian Communist Party strictures in place in mainland China. The U.Ok. and U.S. have condemned the electoral adjustments whereas Beijing and its supporters name them mere refinements to enhance effectivity. In a Dec. 7 interview with Communist Party newspaper Global Times, Lam stated the elections could be “extra consultant with extra balanced participation.” She stated the objective is to elect those that are patriotic to control the town.
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