Pro-China supporters display Chinese and Hong Kong flags during a rally near the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 30, 2020, as China passed a sweeping national security law for the city. Photograph:( AFP )
Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the guarantee of freedoms not seen on the mainland, including freedom of speech and assembly
The decision making body at the helm of China’s parliament unanimously approved a plan for reforms in Hong Kong’s electoral system. Reported first by the South China Morning Post, the plan was approved on Tuesday.
China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee approved the plan with a vote of 167-0, SCMP said, citing Tam Yiu-chung, a representative of Hong Kong in the committee.
Earlier on March 22, eight Hong Kong democracy activists detained in China last year for illegally crossing the border were due back in the city after completing jail terms, in a case that drew international attention and concern over their treatment.
They were among 12 activists whose boat was intercepted at sea by mainland authorities in August 2020 allegedly en route to the democratic island of Taiwan. All had faced charges in Hong Kong over the pro-democracy protest movement.
The activists were arrested under a sweeping national security law Beijing imposed on the Asian financial hub in June 2020 that critics say is aimed at crushing dissent.
Pro-democracy activists began fleeing Hong Kong for democratic Taiwan from the early months of the protests in 2019, most of them legally by air, but some by boat, activists in Taipei have said.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the guarantee of freedoms not seen on the mainland, including freedom of speech and assembly.
Democracy activists complain that Communist Party rulers in Beijing are whittling away at those freedoms, a charge China rejects.
Since Beijing imposed the national security law on Hong Kong, scores of democracy campaigners have been arrested, some elected legislators have been disqualified and others have fled overseas.