Fridays unveiling of the NPC’s (China’s National People’s Congress) proposal has been condemned by the US. Ned Price (US State departments Spokesman) states it is “a direct attack on Hong Kong’s autonomy, Hong Kong’s freedoms and the democratic processes”
US condemn NPC Hong Kong Proposals: Hong Kong, a former British colony was allowed to have its own legal system and human rights. These included free speech and also freedom of the press. Many now fear the “One Country, two Systems” arrangement will be quashed. The Basic Law, agreed with the UK before the return of sovereignty in 1997, allowed for an “ultimate aim” of universal suffrage. Including the choice of leader, or chief executive.
After the pro-democracy protests in 2019 Beijing imposed the National Security Law. Aimed at highlighting “sedition” and bringing stability.
Reactions are strong from the US with State department spokesman Ned Price saying this is. “a direct attack on Hong Kong’s autonomy, Hong Kong’s freedoms and the democratic processes. If implemented these measures would drastically undermine Hong Kong democratic institutions.”
Washington are also working with partners at “galvanising collective action” against alleged Chinese human rights abuses of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang and “repression” in Hong Kong.
Additionally the EU requested Beijing. “Carefully consider the political and economic implications on any decision to reform the electoral system of Hong Kong that would undermine fundamental freedoms, political pluralism and democratic principles”.
Meanwhile the UK Foreign Office urged China’s authorities to. “Uphold their commitments to the people of Hong Kong. Including respecting their fundamental rights and freedoms, and Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy”.
Furthermore, Lord Chris Patten, former British governor of Hong Kong, stated China’s Communist Party had. “Taken the biggest step so far to obliterate Hong Kong’s freedoms and aspirations for greater democracy under the rule of law”.
Wang Chen (NPC vice-chairman) said that changes were required as:. “The rioting and turbulence that occurred in Hong Kong society reveals that the existing electoral system has clear loopholes and deficiencies. Risks in the system need to be removed to ensure patriots are in charge.”
Premier Li Keqiang has warned that China will. “resolutely guard against and deter” interference by external forces in Hong Kong’s affairs.
The NPC debate expected to last a week, will discuss the elections issue and no text has yet been made public. However, Mr Wang and media sources did state some areas are to be discussed.
The city’s heavily pro-Beijing electoral committee would get new powers over the parliament, or Legislative Council. The committee would be able to vet all Legislative Council candidates. And also elect many of its members. Diluting the number directly elected by the public.
Willie Lam, China analyst at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told the AFP news agency that if the new NPC measures passed as he expected they would “effectively wipe out any remaining opposition”.
Any following NPC Standing Committee rulings, however, will ensure Beijing will have control over who was appointed. Pro-democracy moves continued and came to a head with mass rallies in 2019. Beijing imposed the security law last year
Many arrests have been made. Recently47 pro-democracy activists were charged with “subversion” under the new law. They could face life in prison. The yearly meeting has nearly 3,000 delegates from provinces, autonomous regions, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
While the NPC is in theory is the country’s most powerful institution. In reality the lawmakers usually end up approving plans and policies decided beforehand by the central government. Last Friday, Mr Li stated the country had set its economic growth target at above 6%. And updated the NPC on climate control targets.
Over the following few days, the congress will also approve the fourteenth Five-Year-Plan. The economic strategy for the country.
President Xi Jinping may also highlight China’s achievement in “eradicating absolute poverty”. China announced this just last week.
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