China Dashes Hong Kong’s Democratic Hopes

Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong

Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong / AP

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China appears set to deny fully democratic elections to Hong Kong in 2017, according to Reuters.

The communist government’s top legislature is meeting this week to determine how Hong Kong will elect its chief executive in 2017:

The decision to allow only two to three candidates to run in the 2017 election and not to allow open nominations was carried in a draft resolution published during a National People’s Congress (NPC) meeting in Beijing, Hong Kong’s RTHK radio reported, citing an unnamed source.

While the document said Beijing still backed a direct election for Hong Kong in 2017, it would insist that all candidates needed to first get majority backing from a small nomination committee stacked with Beijing loyalists.

The high nomination threshold will effectively make it impossible for opposition democrats to get on the ballot, and is likely to prove a final trigger for the Occupy Central protests.

Beijing’s Communist leaders are unnerved by the possibility of an opposition democrat being voted into office and have often said any Hong Kong leader must “love China” and be a “patriot”.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement has already said it will send thousands into the streets if China continues to control the nomination process.