Seven of Hong Kong’s most senior and prominent pro-democracy figures, including lawyer and former legislator Martin Lee and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, have been found guilty over their involvement in an unauthorized protest rally. After a four-week trial, the defendants were convicted on Thursday of organizing and participating in the rally in 2019, joining two others who had pled guilty earlier.
China has passed sweeping changes to Hong Kong’s electoral rules which will tighten its control over the city. The number of directly elected seats in parliament has been cut almost by half, and prospective MPs will first be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee to ensure their loyalty to the mainland. The aim is to ensure only “patriotic” figures can run for positions of power.
China’s legislature has approved a resolution to make sweeping changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system. The measures were passed with 2,985 votes in favor, and zero against, in China’s National People’s Congress (NPC). A “candidate qualification review committee” will be established to vet candidates for election to Hong Kong’s parliament, the Legislative Council said. Chinese officials have said that the changes will ensure “patriots” are in control of Hong Kong.
China moved to overhaul Hong Kong’s electoral system on Friday in a further blow to democracy in the city and unexpectedly set an economic growth target for this year, albeit a modest one, as it kicked off its annual session of parliament. Beijing proposed legislation that would tighten its increasingly authoritarian grip on Hong Kong by making changes to the electoral committee that chooses the city’s leader.
Just under three million people in Hong Kong will be able to apply to live, study and work in the UK when a new visa route opens on Sunday. The government offered a pathway to British citizenship for those holding British National (Overseas) status and their eligible family members last summer. It followed the imposition of a controversial new security law in Hong Kong by China.
In a sweeping crackdown on opposition, police in Hong Kong on Wednesday arrested more than 50 pro-democracy figures for allegedly violating the stringent new national security law, according to political parties and local media. Those arrested on suspicion of subversion included U.S. citizen John Clancey, an attorney and human rights advocate at the Ho Tse Wai & Partners law firm in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s highest court on Monday ruled the city’s government had the right to invoke colonial-era emergency powers last year to ban the wearing of masks at all public processions and meetings during the height of 2019’s protests. During the anti-government protests which have largely died down, many demonstrators wore masks to hide their identities from authorities and to protect themselves from tear gas.
Hong Kong democracy activist and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, 73, has been charged under the city’s national security law on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces, his Apple Daily newspaper reported on Friday, citing a police source. Lai, an ardent critic of Beijing, would be the highest profile person charged under the sweeping new law imposed on the Chinese-ruled city in June.
Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong media tycoon and pro-democracy activist whose Apple Daily newspaper was raided by police earlier this year, has been denied bail after being charged with fraud. Lai – the owner of Hong Kong tabloid and founder of Next Digital Media – will be held on remand until his next court date in April next year.
Hong Kong has plunged further into crisis as a new law imposed by Beijing allowing the disqualification of “unpatriotic” opposition members prompted the entire pro-democracy caucus to announce their resignation. Minutes after the disqualifying legislation was announced by Chinese state media, the Hong Kong government released a statement disqualifying four pro-democracy legislators. “The political rule that Hong Kong must be governed by patriots shall be firmly guarded,” the Hong Kong liaison office said.`