Hong Kong’s leader on Tuesday intensified his campaign to crack down on more democratic challenges by unveiling plans to eliminate most directly elected seats on local district assemblies, the last major political representative bodies chosen by the public.
CEO John Lee He said the proposed reform would reduce the percentage of directly elected seats in the organization at the municipal level to about 20 percent – from about 90 percent currently.
This is even lower than when these bodies were first set up in the 1980s, when Hong Kong was governed by Britain.
He said the rest of the 470 seats would be occupied by government appointees, heads of rural committees and others elected by local committees that staff many pro-establishment figures.
He said, “I don’t agree that absolute electoral vote counting means democracy.” “Different places have their own systems that must take into account all the characteristics and elements of that place.”
The planned electoral changes are widely seen as part of Beijing’s increasing control On the former British colony, which was promised autonomy when it returned to China in 1997.
Two years ago, Hong Kong actually amended its electoral laws for its legislature, greatly reducing the public’s ability to vote and increasing the number of voters. pro-Beijing legislators Make decisions for the city.
In the past, the race for district MP seats in the city drew little international attention as councilors dealt mainly with municipal matters, such as regulating building projects and ensuring that public facilities were in good condition.
But their councils took on importance after Medina Pro-democracy camp He won a landslide victory in the latest poll at the height of the anti-government protests in 2019.
Several pro-democracy district councilors eventually resigned in 2021, after authorities imposed an oath requirement to demand allegiance to the city. Their mass resignations followed media reports that councilors might have to pay back their wages if they were subsequently removed from office, which was neither confirmed nor denied by the government at the time.
Critics saw the demand as part of a broader crackdown on the pro-democracy movement after mass protests and the enactment of the sweeping national security law in 2020.
The resignations and other ineligibility, Lee said, have left roughly a third of the elected representatives still serving on the boards.
The next county council election is expected later this year.


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