World Beijing official signals Hong Kong electoral reforms to ensure 'patriots' govern
No jury for Hong Kong's first national security trial: source
Hong Kong has decided against using a jury for the first trial under a sweeping national security law imposed by Beijing, a legal source with direct knowledge of the case told AFP on Monday. The national security law imposed by Beijing has silenced dissent and dented the legal firewall between the business hub and the mainland. Senior Chinese politicians, state media outlets as well as leading pro-Beijing figures and newspapers within Hong Kong have also lobbied for reforming the judiciary or criticised recent judgments and sentences they dislike.
BEIJING (Reuters) - "Loopholes" in Hong Kong's laws must be closed to ensure the city is governed by "patriots", a top Beijing official said on Monday, signalling changes to the Chinese-ruled city's electoral system, potentially as early as next month.
Any changes could further limit who could run in a postponed legislative election and may lead to the disqualification of most lower-level district councillors - the majority of them being pro-democracy politicians, sources have told Reuters.
Hong Kong’s Leader and Top Officials Will Get Covid Vaccine Monday
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam will receive a Chinese Covid-19 vaccine at a public event on Monday, seeking to reassure residents as the Asian financial hub prepares to begin its rollout of inoculations. © Bloomberg Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. Hong Kong is threatening to knock down the doors of residents who don't respond to authorities conducting mandatory-testing blitzes as the city tries to end a persistent winter wave of coronavirus cases.
Reforms could also further skew a committee electing the city's leader in favour of the pro-Beijing camp.
"Patriots" included those who loved China, its constitution and the Communist Party and excluded anti-China "troublemakers", said Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, China's cabinet.
One direct reason for "anti China" movements in Hong Kong was that the principle of patriots ruling the city was not fully implemented, Xia said.
"Relevant legal loopholes" should be plugged to improve Hong Kong's electoral system and ensure only patriots gain important office, said Xia, according to a transcript of his remarks posted online by his office.
Those who violate the national security law, or challenge the leadership of the ruling Communist Party, are not patriots, he said, referring to the contentious legislation Beijing imposed on its freest city in June last year.
Lam defends China’s plan to ensure only ‘patriots’ rule Hong Kong
Beijing says anyone who ‘goes against China and disrupts Hong Kong’ must not take office in the semi-autonomous city.Her comments, made at a regular weekly news conference on Tuesday, come a day after a key member of China’s cabinet signalled changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system designed to further marginalise the pro-democracy opposition in the city’s institutions.
Patriots would also resolutely oppose foreign interference in Hong Kong, he said.
"Under no circumstances should important positions be held by elements who are anti-China or who bring chaos to Hong Kong."
A Hong Kong deputy to China's parliament, which is due to congregate from March 5, said that it was likely a "detailed electoral reform plan" for the city will be brought up this year, according to a tweet from the Global Times, a tabloid published by the official People's Daily, on Monday.
The "patriotism" requirement for the city's fiercely independent judiciary would be of particular concern for many in Hong Kong, as its common law-based system has been key to establish the city as a global financial hub.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government would fully co-operate with Beijing in its role in improving the former British colony's political system.
"You have to be a very firm and decisive patriot to the extent that you're prepared to put in every effort to defend "one country, two systems," regardless of your personal sacrifices," Lam said, referring to the semi-autonomous city's style of governance.
(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley in Beijing and Clare Jim in Hong Kong, Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Raissa Kasolowsky)
Hearing for Hong Kong democracy activists resumes after marathon session .
Hearing for Hong Kong democracy activists resumes after marathon sessionHONG KONG (Reuters) - The proceedings for 47 Hong Kong democracy activists charged with conspiracy to commit subversion resume on Tuesday, following a marathon hearing that extended well past midnight before it was adjourned after one of the defendants fainted.