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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."

Go deeper

Dec 20, 2021 - World

Record low turnout for Hong Kong "patriots only" election

Kenneth Fok Kai-kong (second from right) celebrates with his wife, Guo Jingjing, a former Olympic diving champion, and others after winning the Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication Constituency seat at the 2021 Legislative Council General Election in Hong Kong on Dec. 20. Photo: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Pro-Beijing candidates claimed victory in Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo) election under the new "patriots only" system, per Reuters.

Why it matters: This was the first LegCo since Beijing lawmakers passed a sweeping law to ensure only "patriotic" figures can run for positions of power — which U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called a "denial of democracy."

Dec 21, 2021 - World

Why U.S. giants keep caving to China

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government increasingly is using its economic weight to reshape global behavior and strengthen its own authoritarianism. And democratic governments have left companies to fend for themselves.

Why it matters: Global businesses and nonprofits learned the hard way this year that taking a stand for democratic values can cause massive revenue losses in the Chinese market.

Dec 21, 2021 - World

Chinese sanctions hit Lithuania

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Chinese government is demanding that multinational firms cut ties with Lithuania or else lose access to China's markets, after the Baltic state allowed Taiwan to open an unofficial representative's office there.

Why it matters: Beijing is beginning to implement a de facto sanctions regime to enforce its geopolitical interests around the globe.

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