Beijing official signals Hong Kong electoral reforms to ensure 'patriots' govern

Executive Carrie Lam delivers her annual policy address in Hong Kong

Executive Carrie Lam delivers her annual policy address in Hong Kong

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.

Lam said Tuesday she understands why officials in Beijing "do not want the situation to deteriorate further in such a way that "one country, two systems" can not be implemented".

Some media outlets in Hong Kong are reporting that electoral reforms may be implemented at the National People's Congress to be held in March.

Any changes could further limit who could run in a postponed legislative election and may lead to the disqualification of most lower-level district councillors - the majority of them being pro-democracy politicians, sources have told Reuters.

"Being patriotic means loving the People's Republic of China".

What form electoral reform might take remains to be seen.

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Xia was quoted as saying that Hong Kong should always be governed by patriots in order to ensure the steady and sustained implementation of "one country, two systems".

Lam added that a potential law banning insulting public officials was not at an advanced stage, but many people in her government wanted the legislation.

"This need to change the electoral system and arrangements in Hong Kong is for one single objective, that is to make sure that whoever is governing Hong Kong is patriotic", she said.

China enacted a national security law in Hong Kong a year ago, cracking down on pro-democracy activists following large-scale demonstrations in 2019.

"China is trying to change the rules so pro-Beijing candidates win", one pro-democracy activist said. "It applies to various aspects of the political structure, including the executive, the legislative, the judiciary, the District Councils and the civil service".

EU governments have been widely criticized by human rights activists for doing less than their USA and United Kingdom counterparts while cozying up to China for an investment pact that could see European companies gain deeper access to the Chinese market.

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