Sep 19, 2021 - World

Hong Kong holds first "patriots only" elections

Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region HKSAR Carrie Lam speaks in a joint interview with media outlets in Hong Kong, south China, Sept. 13

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam during a news conference last Monday. Photo: Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua via Getty Images

Hong Kong's elections to choose the city's Election Committee members opened to a select group of voters on Sunday, under a new "patriots only" system imposed by China's government.

Why it matters: All candidates running to be members of the electoral college have been "vetted" by Beijing, per Reuters. They will go on to choose the Asian financial hub's next leader, approved by China's government, and some of its legislature.

By the numbers: About 4,800, or 0.064% of Hong Kong's 7.5 million population, were allowed to vote in Sunday's elections, per AFP.

What they're saying: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam told reporters Sunday: "The Election Committee elections are very meaningful as it is the first elections held after we have improved the electoral system to ensure that only patriots can take office."

  • Nathan Law, a leading Hong Kong pro-democracy activist granted asylum in the United Kingdom last year, told AFP the new law ensured candidates would be "puppet showmen under Beijing's entire control ... with no meaningful competition."
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