World Hong Kong legislature moves closer to pass electoral reforms
'Life goes on:' Lam says Hong Kong still good for businesses
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday defended Hong Kong as an attractive place for businesses, after a recent survey found foreigners were considering leaving the longtime Asian business hub. Hong Kong has long been seen as one of the best places to do business globally, highly regarded for its skilled workforce, business-friendly legal system and ease of movement. However, a survey by The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong earlier this month found that 42% of expatriates polled were planning or considering leaving the city.
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s legislature on Thursday moved closer to amending electoral laws that would drastically reduce the public’s ability to vote and increase the number of pro-Beijing lawmakers making decisions for the city.
The second reading of the bill was passed by a 40-2 vote, with the only two non-establishment lawmakers voting against. The bill is expected to be voted on again during the third reading, but little or no opposition is expected.
Hong Kong's Tiananmen museum shuts down amid investigation
HONG KONG (AP) — A Hong Kong museum commemorating China's deadly 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests closed Wednesday three days after opening as the ruling Communist Party tries to stamp out the last traces of public discussion of the event. Hong Kong was the last place on Chinese soil where the party's attack on protests centered on Beijing's Tiananmen Square was commemorated with candlelight vigils and other events. But authorities have banned public ceremonies for the second year amid a campaign by Beijing to crush pro-democracy activism in the territory.
Once approved, it will empower the city’s national security department to check the backgrounds of potential candidates for public office and a new committee will be set up to ensure those candidates are “patriotic.”
The number of seats in Hong Kong’s legislature will be expanded to 90, with 40 of them elected by a largely pro-Beijing election committee. The number of legislators elected directly by Hong Kong voters will be cut to 20, from the previous 35.
The legislators are largely pro-Beijing after their pro-democracy colleagues resigned en masse last year in protest over the ousting of four lawmakers deemed to be insufficiently loyal to Beijing.
Organizer of Hong Kong's Tiananmen vigil said to be arrested
HONG KONG (AP) — A member of the committee that organizes Hong Kong's annual candlelight vigil for the victims of the Tiananmen Square crackdown was arrested early Friday on the 32nd anniversary, local media reported. Public broadcaster RTHK and others reported Chow Hang Tung, the vice chair of The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, was arrested by police early Friday. It is not clear why Chow was arrested, and police have yet to comment on the matter.The committee organizes the vigil and ran a museum dedicated to the 1989 military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Pro-Beijing lawmakers lauded the bill during the debate on Wednesday and Thursday, saying that reforms would prevent those not loyal to Hong Kong from running for office.
Some pointed out that multiple bills that impact people's livelihoods have been passed with more ease this year compared to in 2020, when pro-democracy lawmakers would at times filibuster or behave disruptively during meetings to stall the passage of bills that they disagreed with.
The changes to Hong Kong’s elections come as Beijing further tightens control over the semi-autonomous city that saw months of anti-government protest and political strife in 2019.
Blinken condemns Hong Kong electoral law changes
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday criticized the Chinese government for further restricting democratic freedoms in Hong Kong in response to Beijing's new measures limiting the territory's political representation."The Chinese government continues to undermine the democratic institutions of Hong Kong, denying Hong Kong residents the rights that the People's Republic of China (PRC) itself has guaranteed," the secretary said in a"The Chinese government continues to undermine the democratic institutions of Hong Kong, denying Hong Kong residents the rights that the People's Republic of China (PRC) itself has guaranteed," the secretary said in a statement.
Authorities have arrested and charged most of the city’s outspoken pro-democracy advocates, such as Joshua Wong, who was a student leader of 2014 protests, as well as media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who founded the Apple Daily newspaper.
China’s rubber-stamp parliament in March endorsed changes to the city’s electoral system, which then led to Hong Kong’s proposals.
They are the latest in a string of moves to ensure people elected to office or serving the city are loyal to Beijing. An amendment the legislature approved earlier this month requires the city’s over 400 district councilors — who mainly deal with municipal matters — to take an oath pledging loyalty to Hong Kong and to upholding its mini-constitution.
The oath was previously required only of legislators and government officials such as the chief executive.
Hong Kong Voters to Elect 15 Fewer Lawmakers Under New Legislative Proposal .
The amendments will allow the city's national security department to perform background checks of potential candidates. Voters will only directly elect 20 lawmakers, as opposed to the usual 35. Hong Kong's legislative body will expand to 90 with 40 seats elected by a pro-Beijing election committee. The changes will also establish a new committee to ensure anyone running for public office is pro-Beijing. These actions are an extension of Beijing's crackdown on the semi-autonomous city, where months of protests in 2019 and 2020 showcased China's efforts to gain full control of the territory.