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World Hong Kong's Lam defends China's plans to ensure loyalists lead city

06:10  23 february  2021
06:10  23 february  2021 Source:   reuters.com

China uses patriotism test to sweep aside last outlet for Hong Kong democracy

  China uses patriotism test to sweep aside last outlet for Hong Kong democracy Local-level officials face disqualification as Beijing reshapes the electoral system and requires candidates to swear allegiance to the Communist Party. On Tuesday, Hong Kong’s government announced that anyone running for these local positions will need to be a “patriot” — meaning they must swear loyalty not to their constituents but to Beijing and the Communist Party — as China moves to quash the territory’s last avenue of democracy.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam got a Chinese Covid-19 vaccine at a public event on Monday in an effort to overcome skepticism as the Asian financial hub prepares to begin its inoculation campaign. Lam and the heads of various government departments received coronavirus shots Hong Kong ’ s economy shrank by a record 6.1% last year, with the global pandemic hurting output in a city already reeling from political upheaval. Its jobless rate rose in January to the highest in more than 16 years. About 1 million Sinovac doses were shipped to Hong Kong last week, while Lam said the

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam once said her role meant she must serve two masters — the government in Beijing and the people of her city . After this year’s crackdown on democracy, her opponents say it’s now clear where her loyalty lies. She had emerged quietly from the ranks of Hong Kong ’ s British-founded civil service to lead her city . She was immersed in the rule of law and civil rights. Many of the people of China ’ s freest city wanted to believe in her. Yet in 2019, the streets erupted in violence when Lam attempted to drive through legislation allowing extraditions of criminal

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam endorsed plans by Beijing to ensure "patriots" rule the city, saying on Tuesday they were needed to stop hatred of China and sustain the 'one country, two systems' governance model for the Asian financial hub.

Carrie Lam wearing glasses: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam attends a news conference in Hong Kong © Reuters/LAM YIK Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam attends a news conference in Hong Kong

Her comments, made at a regular weekly news conference, come after a key member of China's cabinet signalled changes to Hong Kong's electoral system that would further reduce the pro-democracy opposition's influence in the city.

Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said Hong Kong can only be ruled by "patriots", a term he said includes people who love China, its constitution and the Communist Party and excludes anti-China "troublemakers."

Hong Kong’s Leader and Top Officials Will Get Covid Vaccine Monday

  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.

Hong Kong leader warns that she does not ‘envisage that within a very short span of time, we will relax social distancing on the basis of vaccination’. Mass immunisation drive for the city starts later this week, with bookings opening on Tuesday. Carrie Lam receives the Sinovac jab at the community vaccination centre in Hong Kong ’ s Central Library.

China ' plans to replace embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam ' after the city was rocked by nearly five months of anti-government protests. Leading candidates who may replace Lam reportedly include Norman Chan (left), the former head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority; and Henry Tang (right), who has also served as the territory' s financial secretary and chief secretary for administration. Earlier this month, Lam invoked a colonial-era emergency law to ban face masks - a move that set off a new wave of protests and vandalism.

The measures would further consolidate the authoritarian turn Hong Kong has taken since Beijing's imposition of a sweeping national security law in June 2020 and the arrest of most of its prominent democratic politicians and activists.

Lam built on Xia's comments on Tuesday, listing a series of anti-government protests since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under an agreement that preserved wide-ranging freedoms not present in mainland China.

Protests demanding democracy or blocking legislation proposed by the various pro-Beijing governments, which culminated with the mass demonstrations in 2019, stoked "hatred" against Beijing and the Hong Kong government, Lam said.

"These series of incidents made the central government worried, and of course, for me, as the chief executive, it is also worrying," Lam told reporters.

"To stop the situation from worsening to a point that 'one country, two systems' could hardly be carried out, the problems need to be tackled at a central government level."

The changes, likely to be announced in March, are expected to restrict who could run in legislative elections and lead to the disqualification of most lower-level district councillors - the majority of them being pro-democracy politicians.

New rules could also skew a 1,200-member committee which elects the city's leader in favour of the pro-Beijing camp.

(Reporting by Sharon Tam; Writing by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Auckland Lockdown Lifted; Taiwan-China Spat: Virus Update .
China obstructed Taiwan’s purchase of vaccines from BioNTech, Taiwan’s health minister said, according to a Central News Agency report. Japan began its vaccination program, starting with a group of frontline health-care workers. New Zealand is also ending a three-day lockdown in Auckland after authorities expressed confidence that the latest community outbreak is contained. Australia’s Melbourne will also lift its five-day lockdown as planned, though some restrictions on visitors to the home will remain.South Korea reported 621 new cases, the most in six weeks.

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