China approved on Thursday a drastic overhaul of election rules for Hong Kong that would most likely bar many pro-democracy politicians from competing in elections, cementing Beijing’s grip over the territory.
The National People’s Congress, China’s Communist Party-controlled legislature, voted almost unanimously to give pro-Beijing loyalists more power to choose Hong Kong’s local leader, as well as members of its legislature. The decision builds on a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong, imposed last year after months of protests, that the authorities have used to quash opposition in the former British colony.
Premier Li Keqiang said at his annual news conference that the new legislation was needed to ensure that “patriots” run the territory. But critics contend that the new election system will wipe out the already limited democracy that Hong Kong enjoyed after its return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
Here is what we know about the changes.
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