China adopts decision to improve Hong Kong electoral system

The decision will help ensure "patriots administering Hong Kong" and the steady and sustained development of "one country, two systems," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said.

The National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, on Thursday adopted a decision on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The legislators gathered in the Great Hall of the People burst into sustained applause when the 2,895 to 0 vote tally, with one abstention, was projected onto screens.

The decision will help ensure “patriots administering Hong Kong” and the steady and sustained development of “one country, two systems,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told reporters after the vote.

Under the changes in Hong Kong, a 1,500-member Election Committee will be responsible for electing the city’s chief executive designate and part of the members of the Legislative Council, or LegCo.

Committee members would come from five sectors: industrial, commercial and financial sectors; the professions; grassroots, labor, religious and other sectors; LegCo members and representatives of district organizations; Hong Kong deputies to the NPC, Hong Kong members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and representatives of Hong Kong members of related national organizations.

The size of the Electoral Committee will be increased from 1,200 to 1,500, and the LegCo from 70 to 90 seats.

Members of the LegCo shall include members elected by the Election Committee, those elected by functional constituencies, and those by geographical constituencies through direct elections.

A candidate qualification review committee will be set up to vet candidates and screen election winners’ behavior to make sure only patriots rule Hong Kong. The qualifications of candidates must be in conformity with the Basic Law and the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR.

The Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam, welcomed the change and said in a statement it will allow the city to “resolve the problem of the LegCo making everything political in recent years and effectively deal with the reckless moves or internal rift that have torn Hong Kong apart.”

The NPC session was of the view that the return of Hong Kong to the motherland put the region once again under the overall governance system of the country, and China’s Constitution and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong jointly form the constitutional basis of the HKSAR.

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