HONG KONG—China’s top lawmaking body rewrote electoral rules for Hong Kong to give Beijing decisive control over how the city chooses its leader and legislators, putting pro-establishment politicians firmly in charge of the former British colony.
The changes, approved Tuesday, will curtail democratic representation in Hong Kong by slashing the share of directly elected seats in the local legislature, while giving unelected political bodies more influence over the city’s governance. Local national-security officials will also get effective veto power over election candidates, allowing authorities to bar opposition figures from elected office.
These measures formalized Beijing’s plans to tighten its grip on Hong Kong with electoral overhauls that ensure only “patriots” can govern the Asian financial center. China’s national legislature approved the proposal during its annual session this month, paving the way for senior lawmakers to finalize the details this week.
Opposition groups say the electoral changes are part of Beijing’s systematic erosion of many rights and freedoms that Hong Kong residents were promised for the half-century following Britain’s handover of the territory to Chinese rule in 1997.
Beijing has sought to crush dissent in Hong Kong since antigovernment protests caused citywide chaos in 2019. After imposing a national-security law on the city in June, authorities have rounded up scores of pro-democracy figures and disqualified several opposition lawmakers.