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China Rigs Elections to Ensure only ‘Patriots’ Will Govern Hong Kong

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Beijing’s assault on what little remains of Hong Kong’s autonomy continued Monday with the announcement of new rules to ensure that only “patriots,” meaning …
Beijing’s assault on what little remains of Hong Kong’s autonomy continued Monday with the announcement of new rules to ensure that only “patriots,” meaning solid loyalists to China and its Communist Party, will be eligible to govern the island. China’s state-run Global Times hailed the “patriots governing Hong Kong” initiative as an urgently needed effort to fix “loopholes” in the island’s political system, describing it as an “upgrade” to the “one country, two systems” principle of limited autonomy to which China agreed when it took control of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom in 1997. The Global Times noted this “systematic upgrade,” like the authoritarian “national security” law imposed on Hong Kong last summer, would be implemented through the National People’s Congress in Beijing rather than “proposed by the HKSAR [Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region] government and then approved by the central government.” Later in the article, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office chief Xia Baolong explained how the “patriots governing Hong Kong plan,” like the national security law, is a ham-fisted effort to crush the pro-democracy movement that spread across Hong Kong in 2019: Hong Kong experienced severe political turmoil in 2019 when anti-government rioters used scorched earth strategies to paralyze the city in pursuit of their political goals. Some secessionists and extreme anti-government forces spread secessionist ideas, opposing the authority of the central government, instigating dissatisfaction toward the mainland and recklessly interfering in the governance process of the HKSAR government, forcing society as a whole to pay a heavy price for it. Xia attributed the earlier chaos in the city to the lack of full-scale implementation of the “patriots governing Hong Kong” principle, which has also become a major urgent task, for which the Chinese official also laid out a series of basic standards including the idea that patriots truly safeguard their country’s sovereignty, security and development interests.

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