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China approves overhaul of Hong Kong's election system

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Pro-Beijing lawmakers attend a press conference at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong China 11 March 2021

"We expect all sectors of the community and the public to take ownership of the work to amend the law and offer suggestions so that a strong positive energy can be gathered under the banner of patriotism and love for Hong Kong".

A group of 24 pro-democracy Hong Kong activists - some of whom are in exile - have called on the European Union not to ratify its investment agreement with China in light of the changes. The rule will allow a pro-CCP committee to approve or reject candidates for the city's legislature, in yet another blow to the limited civil liberties that have distinguished Hong Kong from mainland China for decades. NPC delegates are appointed by the party and always endorse resolutions by overwhelming margins. The NPC has no real powers but the party uses its annual meeting, the year's highest-profile political event, to showcase government plans and major decisions.

The NPC also endorsed the ruling party's latest five-year development blueprint. It calls for stepping up efforts to transform China into a more self-reliant technology creator - a move that threatens to worsen strains with Washington and Europe over trade and market access.

A maximum price of 295 Hong Kong dollars a share represented a 15.2 percent premium to the closing price of Baidu's US-listed stock on Tuesday.

Under the changes, the committee will be able to vet and elect members to the 90-seat legislature, reducing the number of lawmakers directly elected by Hong Kong citizens. It should be noted that the proposal gives much weight to the chief executive, enabling her to weed out those unpatriotic Legislative Council candidates and irresponsible ones.

United Kingdom foreign secretary Dominic Raab slammed China's electoral changes relating to Hong Kong on Thursday, stating that Beijing was attempting to "hollow out" democratic processes in the special administrative region. He said the changes would "safeguard national security" in the territory and support "prosperity and stability".

China says the change is needed to ensure Hong Kong is run by "patriots", but critics say it will wipe out political opposition to Beijing and make elections meaningless.

HK vows to revise poll laws – The Manila Times

"This can only further undermine confidence and trust in China living up to its worldwide responsibilities and legal obligations, as a leading member of the global community".

This is not the first time a Pacific cable that included Hong Kong has been placed on hold.

Improving Hong Kong's electoral system and implementing the principle of patriots governing the city is a constitutional, legitimate, just and reasonable act, Lam said. Dozens of the city's most-prominent pro-democracy figures last month were charged with subversion under the security law and have since been detained.

Ms Lam has faced criticism for her perceived willingness to bow to pressure from China's leaders.

The improvement of Hong Kong's electoral system will ensure the smooth functioning of the SAR government by eliminating the space for secessionists, subversives and radical localists to mislead people at the behest of their foreign patrons.

Ms Lau said concerns expressed by some Chinese officials about a possible attempt to overthrow the government are overblown.

Facebook has scrapped plans to connect California, Taiwan and Hong Kong via a 12,000 kilometer underwater cable, citing tensions between the USA and China.

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