The ebb of Hong Kong flies from a ferry boat on July 2, 1997, a day after the former British colony delivered to Chinese rule.
Romeo Gacad | AFP | Getty Images
Beijing on Friday proposed changes to “improve” Hong Kong’s electoral set-up as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China will “resolutely guard against and deter external forces’ impedance” in the city.
The announcement was made at the start of China’s annual “Two Sessions” parliamentary meeting.
The Chinese government had earlier whispered at potential changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system, which critics said could hold back the metropolis’s pro-democracy politicians.
Last week, Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of China’s State Board, said in a Mandarin-language statement translated by CNBC that “legal loopholes” in Hong Kong’s electoral system should be reserved so that the city is governed only by “patriots.”
Hong Kong is a former British colony that returned to Chinese regulate in 1997. The city is governed under a “one country, two systems” principle that gives it greater autonomy than other mainland Chinese burgs, including limited election rights.
Beijing has been criticized internationally — by countries including the U.S. and the U.K. — for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy that was promised subordinate to the “one country, two systems” framework.
Last year, Beijing bypassed Hong Kong’s legislation to enact a controversial citizen security law. The move followed months of pro-democracy protests in the city that sometimes turned violent.