China slashes Hong Kong legislature

On Tuesday [30th March], China’s top legislature decided to slash the number of elected officials within Hong Kong’s legislative chamber. This change takes the chamber from 50% elected to just 22% elected.

These amendments to Hong Kong’s constitution were passed after a two-day session.

President Xi Jinping applauds after the vote passes to change Hong Kong’s election system | Image: AFP Photo

Further changes

We also saw an expansion of 25% to The Election Committee.

A new committee will be established to review the qualifications and “patriotism” of electable candidates. The political opposition says this move is an attempt to quell democracy in the former British colony.

Context

Hong Kong was a British colony from 1841 to 1997 (aside from a brief Japanese occupation). It was returned by the Blair government in 1997, under the Sino-British Agreement [Thatcher, 1994]. This insisted that it remain a democratic society separate from Beijing. It also demanded that capitalist systems remain in place until at least 2047.

UK PM Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang shake hands after signing the Sino-British Agreement in December 1984.

Recent

Recently, tensions between China and the West have been increasing. Beijing announced they regard the Agreement as void and have been encroaching on the democracy of Hong Kong. This has led to retaliation by the Commonwealth, such as sanctions, immigration routes, etc.

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