Beijing has completed the modification of the Hong Kong Parliament that will make it difficult for the opposition to enter, despised as unpatriotic by some and praised as pro-democrat by others. There is agreement that it represents the most relevant change in the political scene of the former colony since it returned to the mother country almost three decades ago.
The approval comes after the National People’s Congress , the Chinese Parliament, in March supported the changes proposed by the Executive. There is no room for surprise in the Chinese legislative process so the reform was taken for granted as soon as the will of Beijing was transcended months ago.
The law modifies a parliamentary architecture that, although far from Western standards, allowed room for dissent and was far more democratic than that left by the British. Half of its 70 seats were granted by direct election and the other came from economic sectors inclined naturally towards Beijing because the tuning oils business. Mathematics granted a possibility.
The new Legco or Parliament has 90 seats and only 20 are directly elected . The rest are divided between the union representation and those elected by the Electoral Committee. Mathematics denies any possibility.
Appointments from Beijing
The composition of the Electoral Committee goes from 1,200 to 1,500 members and those 300 new ones will be appointed by Beijing . Among his new competences is to measure the patriotism of the candidates and reject the lukewarm. Patriotism in China, with the blurred borders between country and government, demands affection or at least respect for Beijing.
Song Ru’an, a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, clarified this: “We are not referring to something abstract about Chinese culture or history but to love for the current People’s Republic of China under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.”
The process resembles an unlikely goal obstacle course for whatever element Beijing deems uncomfortable. The reform stems from the threat of a boycott that he planned on Hong Kong on the eve of the elections that were canceled last year due to the coronavirus.
The opposition representatives had announced that, if they reached the majority, they would stop any government action until the territory was blocked. The new law solves what Beijing had described as “gaps and deficiencies” and eliminates the risk of boycott before the next electoral call.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam defended an elastic concept of democracy earlier this month . “There is no international standard. Each democracy depends on the context of the country or place. We are improving the electoral system to ensure that all those charged with administering or governing Hong Kong love our country and love Hong Kong, ”he said.
There is no date for the new elections which, in any case, are a minor concern for the opposition representatives. Some fifty face long prison sentences for the crime of subversion included in the National Security Law approved last June.
The new legislative framework certifies Hong Kong suicide. No sensible analyst expected Beijing to reward months of violent revolt and chaos with more freedom and democracy. The official press emphasizes that the context left no other alternatives.
“Violent protests and the election of anti-Chinese representatives in local districts for suspicious purposes exposed the failures of the electoral system that foreign elements, allied with local radicals, exploited to try to seize power in Hong Kong,” said a morning editorial. China Daily.
The United Kingdom and the United States, among others, have denounced the bankruptcy of the “one country, two systems” formula that assured Hong Kong some autonomy after its re-entry into China.