Posted 16 марта 2021, 16:40
Published 16 марта 2021, 16:40
Modified 24 декабря 2022, 22:38
Updated 24 декабря 2022, 22:38
Yuris Paiders, Riga
The annual session of the National People's Congress opened on March 5, an event that was canceled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The meeting began by proposing several reforms that would have a huge impact on Hong Kong's already limited democracy.
While the West is increasingly concerned about China's global influence, including in the defense sector, at the beginning of the meeting, China's finance ministry announced that China's defense budget will increase by 6.8% this year. Last year, China's defense budget, which is the second largest in the world after the United States, increased 6.6%. This year, Beijing intends to spend 1.36 yen (176 billion euros) on defense. This means that we can expect new developments in Beijing's attempts to tighten its control over Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is a former British colony that was returned to China in 1997. Beijing has pledged that it will adhere to the principle of "one country, two systems", which will allow Hong Kong to maintain some democratic rights, such as freedom of speech and press. However, in recent years, Hong Kong activists have complained that Beijing is trying to impose ever stricter controls.
The situation is getting worse, Beijing is changing the rules of the game again. Most likely, even more laws will be passed during the National People's Congress, which will directly affect the status of Hong Kong and limit the ability of its citizens to self-government.
One proposal is for Beijing to veto any candidate for the Hong Kong Legislative Council. The reform is aimed at ensuring that only Chinese "patriots" are in the leadership of Hong Kong. That is why it is proposed to give the Hong Kong Electoral Committee, which is controlled by Beijing, the right to elect a majority of the members of the Legislative Council and directly participate in the nomination process.
Democratic advocates believe that, if adopted, the proposal would completely eliminate Hong Kong's special status, which was not supposed to change for 50 years in accordance with the agreement between the UK and China.
On Sunday, Chinese authorities arrested 47 Hong Kong activists, accusing them of threatening national security. The reality is that all prominent activists are either brought to trial or driven into exile.