Hong Kong must legislate so only ‘patriots’ can act in local politics – 02/23/2021

The Hong Kong government will issue legislation later this week to require local lawmakers to pledge allegiance to the Chinese government.

As a result, politicians whose oath is deemed false or unconvincing will not be able to take office in the District Council, considered the only fully democratic institution in Hong Kong, as its members are elected by direct vote.

“You can’t say you’re a patriot if you don’t like or respect the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party – that doesn’t make sense,” said Eric Tsang, Hong Kong’s constitutional secretary. . , which is a semi-autonomous region of China. “Patriotism is holistic love”.

Any member of Congress who fails the loyalty test will have his or her tenure suspended and liable to prosecution. If the disqualification is confirmed, the defendant could be barred from standing for election for five years.

The new law paves the way for a massive punishment of pro-democracy Hong Kong politicians, who make up nearly 90% of the 452 seats in the Hong Kong District Council. The move could prevent a massive defeat at the polls for Beijing-aligned politicians, as it did in 2019.

The new rule will be debated on March 17 by the Hong Kong Legislative Council, dominated by Beijing-aligned politicians. But before that, the Chinese government is expected to determine further changes to Hong Kong’s electoral rules as early as March.

On Monday (22), Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao sector at the State Council of China, said Hong Kong can only be ruled by patriots. This, he said, excludes “anti-Chinese troublemakers.” Hong Kong Managing Director Carrie Lam also backed the move.

“This is simply an act to legalize brute force to destroy the voices of democracy,” said Henry Wong, a district democracy councilor, who has not yet decided to take the oath.

Beijing has tightened its grip on Hong Kong since last year, after months of protests calling for more democracy in the region, a Chinese territory whose citizens have more rights than the rest of the country, including freedom of expression and the press.

The security law established the possibility of imprisonment for anyone who criticized the government. As a result, the groups which organized the protests dissolved and several activists were arrested.

China’s pressure on Hong Kong has drawn criticism from the US government. However, Beijing argues that foreign countries should not interfere in their domestic policies.

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