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Hong Kong election: democracy candidates barred, activists arrested

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Community outbreaks have been growing at a faster pace than healthcare services can cope with

Hong Kong has made a decision to postpone its legislative elections by one year, after officials say coronavirus has worsened in recent months, dealing a blow to pro-democracy candidates over the delay.

Critics decry the decision, seen as the latest in a series of recent moves that curb Hong Kong's limited autonomy.

Political activist Ventus Lau Wing-hong (third from left) speaks to reporters after he was disqualified on Thursday from running for election for the Hong Kong legislature.

Leader Carrie Lam announced the delay on Friday, postponing an opportunity for pro-democracy opposition leaders to win a majority in the assembly by a full year.

The Chinese government have said that they do not recognise the British National Overseas passports (BNO) for those who are holders in Hong Kong, as they are not "valid" travel documents.

Hong Kong reported over 100 new cases a day for the last 10 days with 121 new cases recorded Friday.

"This is a sleazy, contemptible political act to help thwart any victory on the part of the democrats in the original election", opposition lawmaker Claudia Mo said, warning that public anger could explode. The legislation - to punish what China defines as secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign powers - was widely criticized by opponents and Western countries as damaging to citizens' rights.

Authorities explained that the candidates did not comply with the contentious National Security Law.

The President's E.O. will suspend or terminate much of that favored treatment, meaning that individuals who hold Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports will essentially be treated the same as other individuals from China.

Since 2019, Hong Kong has been rocked by protests, initially triggered by a proposal of a now defunct extradition bill.

"Needless to say, opposing the National Security Law is framed as not "supporting, promoting and embracing" the Basic Law".

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a guarantee of autonomy but critics say the new law undermines that promise and puts the territory on a more authoritarian path.

"We believe that the Hong Kong SAR government will proceed from the current anti-epidemic situation in Hong Kong and handle relevant matters in accordance with the law".

One provision bans "inciting hatred" towards the government.

Also this week, Hong Kong police arrested four people for online statements.

Sing Ming, associate social sciences teacher at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, stated the federal government wished to send out 2 messages with the statement.

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