BEIJING (CHINA) – Signalling changes to the Chinese-ruled city’s electoral system, Beijing has asked Hong Kong to close ‘loopholes” in it’s laws to ensure the city is governed by patriots, a top Beijing official said on Monday.
“Patriots” included those who loved China, its constitution and the Communist Party and excluded anti-China “troublemakers”, said Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, China’s cabinet.
“Relevant legal loopholes” should be plugged to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system and ensure only patriots gain important office, he said, according to a transcript of his remarks posted online by his office.
Any changes could further limit who could run in a postponed legislative election and may lead to the disqualification of most lower-level district councillors – the majority of them being pro-democracy politicians, sources said.
Reforms could also further skew a committee electing the city’s leader in favour of the pro-Beijing camp.
One direct reason for “anti China” movements in Hong Kong was that the principle of patriots ruling the city was not fully implemented, Xia said.
Patriots would also resolutely oppose foreign interference in Hong Kong, he said.
“Under no circumstances should important positions be held by elements who are anti-China or who bring chaos to Hong Kong.”
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government would fully co-operate with Beijing in its role in improving the former British colony’s political system.
“You have to be a very firm and decisive patriot to the extent that you’re prepared to put in every effort to defend “one country, two systems,” regardless of your personal sacrifices,” Lam said, referring to the semi-autonomous city’s style of governance.