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China counters U.S. criticism of Hong Kong’s election change

Beijing – Chinese officials turned to the turmoil surrounding the recent US presidential election on Friday in response to US criticism of the planned election law changes in Hong Kong.

Semi-autonomous Hong Kong is a domestic issue and foreigners do not have the right to interfere, said Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Macau Secretariat of the Hong Kong and Macau Legislatures.

“I don’t know how the United States has enough moral capital to turn to Hong Kong’s electoral bodies after the US Capitol was attacked on January 6,” he said.

A statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused China of what was called a “continuous attack on Hong Kong’s democratic institutions.” It followed Thursday’s approval by China’s Rubber Stamp Parliament for plans to strengthen Beijing’s control over how Hong Kong’s parliament would be elected.

With this change, the Pro-Beijing Election Commission appoints all members of the Hong Kong legislature, elects some members directly, and Hong Kong is controlled by “patriots” and “anti-China”. The military governs.

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The 1,500-member Election Commission elects the region’s chief executive officer and an unspecified “relatively large” 90-seat parliament. There is concern that this amendment will reduce the proportion of directly elected members.

Parent government groups, including the political group Friends of Hong Kong, have set up food stalls in the city to collect signatures to show support for the change. According to the website signforhk2021.com, nearly 200,000 residents have signed it so far.

“These actions deny the Hongkongers’ voice in their own governance by limiting political participation, reducing democratic representation and suppressing political debate,” Blinken said.

Zhang likened the change in Hong Kong’s electoral system to a “minimally invasive surgery” that restores health to Hong Kong’s “democratic system.”

“The distinguishing features of minimally invasive surgery are small scratches, deep penetration, and faster recovery,” he said, adding that as a result, Hong Kong residents will be able to live and work more peacefully. It was.

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Zhang also said the election changes were not aimed at removing Hong Kong’s democratization camp from its governing structure, as anti-Chinese forces could not be equated with opposition.

“Oppositions, especially Pan-Democrats, also have patriots, who are still running for election and may be elected according to law in the future,” he said.

Zhang’s comment was when 47 democratic activists and former lawmakers were charged with capsizing last week for being involved in an informal primary election, which officials say was part of a plan to paralyze the Hong Kong government. Even.

Most of Hong Kong’s prominent supporters of democracy are currently in prison or in self-exile. Of the 47, only 5 received bail.

On Friday, 21 activists who were denied bail last week appeared in court for bail examination.

The court rejected 11 bail applications, including bail applications from former lawmakers Claudia Mo and Leung Kwok-o. The remaining 10 defendants withdrew their application. They remain in custody.

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For former Hong Kong Democrat Emily Lau, Zhang’s words give little reassurance that democratic similarities can be maintained.

“I consider myself a patriot,” Lau said. “But our concern is that many people from my party and democratic camps may be excluded.”

She continues to review throughout their services, as they can still be stripped of their seats if they are found to have inadequate patriotism, even after the members have been elected. Said that was being done.

“I don’t know what their definition of patriotism is, and that’s a worry,” she said. “Once this (election system) is established, it loses public trust, which is bad for any government.”

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Sue reported from Hong Kong.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

China counters U.S. criticism of Hong Kong’s election change

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