By: Jianli Yang & Aaron Rhodes
On March 11, an annual confab of functionaries rubber-stamped a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plan to gut most of what is left of Hong Kong’s democratic processes. At the “Two Sessions” meeting, or Lianghui, over 5,000 members of the CCP elite — members of both the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the National People’s Conference — adopted the “Decision on the Improvement of the Electoral System of the HKSAR” by a vote of 2895–0, with one abstention.
Party officials hailed the emergence of “a new democratic system with Hong Kong characteristics,” a facile denial of Hong Kong’s proud tradition of limited but vivid democracy. Indeed, what is coming is an electoral system in Hong Kong with Chinese Communist Party characteristics.
The changes approved at the “Two Sessions” will restructure Hong Kong’s Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) in ways that will strengthen the CCP’s control over electoral processes. In addition to electing the chief executive, the EAC will now elect a larger proportion of the Legislative Council members and participate directly in the nomination of all candidates to the body. The most potent change is to introduce a pro-Beijing litmus test for candidates: Henceforth, their “patriotism” will now need to be established. Lo Kin-hei, chair of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party, called this “the biggest regression of the system since the handover.” [Continue Reading…]