China mulls curbing Opposition's influence in Hong Kong

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Beijing [China], December 22 (ANI): Beijing authorities are working to scrap 117 seats in Hong Kong which are likely to be controlled by opposition district councillors in the 2022 elections.

According to an exclusive report by South China Morning Post, as part of sweeping proposals that sources said were meant to disempower the district councillors - many of whom were protesters and activists who won their seats riding on a wave of public discontent in last year's elections - the city's pro-establishment members were also lobbying Beijing to get rid of five so-called super seats from the local electoral map.

The sources further informed that the proposal is likely to be tabled during the meeting of China's top legislative body, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).

The 1,200-member Election Committee comprises business elites, professionals, social and religious leaders, the city's 70 lawmakers, delegates to the NPC and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), as well as a total of 117 seats to be elected by district councillors from among their members, SCMP stated.

The opposition camp occupies more than 300 seats on the Election Committee, but with members' massive victory in the district council polls likely to translate into a clean sweep of the 117 district council seats, they could have a powerful, kingmaker role in a two or three-horse chief executive race, potentially controlling a quarter of the votes, SCMP highlighted.

Ever since Beijing imposed its national security law on Hong Kong in June, several former lawmakers and activists have fled the territory to speak out for their rights.

The draconian National Security Law imposed on the city by Beijing criminalizes secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces and carries with it strict prison terms. It came into effect from July 1.

Several of those disqualified were sitting lawmakers, who were subsequently ejected from the parliament by Beijing overruling constitutional precedent and bypassing Hong Kong's courts on November 11, sparking the mass resignation of the entire pro-democratic camp. (ANI)