Beijing could get a grip on Hong Kong further, which shows the lack of concern about the international outcry


China’s central government may be willing to ignore international outcry over crackdown on Hong Kong as it is reportedly considering further measures to tighten control over the city, an analyst told CNBC on Monday.

Last week, media such as Reuters and the South China Morning Post reported that Beijing may consider changes to the Hong Kong electoral system that could restrict pro-democracy politicians and prevent them from voting in local elections.

The reports came after Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Bureau of Affairs of the Chinese State Council, said in a Mandarin-language statement translated by CNBC that “legal loopholes” must be closed in Hong Kong in order for the city to be ruled only by “patriots.” “.

Xia said one of the reasons Hong Kong saw an anti-China movement is because the city’s important institutions were not entirely run by patriots. One way to ensure that only those who are most loyal to China rule Hong Kong is to improve the city’s electoral system by filling relevant legal loopholes, he added.

This image, taken on December 19, 2017, shows the Chinese (above) and Hong Kong flags being hoisted in Hong Kong.

Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Images

John Marrett, a senior analyst at risk advisory firm The Economist Intelligence Unit, said Beijing had already taken several steps to hold back the opposition in Hong Kong.

“It is noteworthy that they go much further in proposing these electoral reforms, the details of which we have not yet seen,” he told CNBC’s Street Signs Asia on Monday.

“But it says something about their fears of a later resurgence of political instability and social unrest in the city and it speaks of their lack of concern about the international outcry over Hong Kong,” he added.

Hong Kong is a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997. The city is governed by the “one country, two systems” principle, which gives it more autonomy than other cities in mainland China, including limited voting rights.

The Hong Kong government has banned at least 12 pro-democracy candidates from participating in the city’s general election, which has been postponed for a year to September 2021. The government cited the pandemic as the reason for the delay.

In addition, four opposition lawmakers were dismissed from the Hong Kong Legislative Council last November, prompting others to step down in protest, Reuters reported.


Katherine Clark