The Star Late Edition

China loyalty laws get the nod


HONG Kong’s opposition-devoid legislatur­e approved new powers yesterday allowing the government to sack public office holders and bar election candidates from standing if they are deemed “disloyal” to local authoritie­s or China.

The new laws are part of sweeping changes that Beijing has ordered for Hong Kong’s already limited electoral system.

The system will dramatical­ly reduce the number of directly elected politician­s and ensure only “staunch patriots” enter politics.

Along with a sweeping national security law, the political changes are part of a broad campaign to quash dissent after huge and often violent democracy protests rocked the finance hub in 2019.

Forty legislator­s approved the new law with just one dissenting vote in a chamber cleared of opposition members late last year ahead of the current political overhaul.

Under the new powers, all public office holders will be required to make a “pledge of loyalty” that they must adhere to throughout their term.

It includes principal government officials, cabinet members, legislator­s and judges as well as members of the legislatur­e and over 470 district councillor­s – local neighbourh­ood officials who are the only people Hong Kongers can choose via universal suffrage.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa