Hong Kong will become the only territory to allow mainland Chinese to vote for its leader, its parliament and the highest court after the government approved their “right to vote”.
The central government in Beijing approved electoral reforms in December that will allow the Hong Kong people to elect between three to seven nominees from among nearly a hundred named by a pro-democracy campaign group.
The approval of the constitutional amendment came amid growing tension over Beijing’s refusal to allow Hong Kongers to vote for their leader, their lawmakers and the independent judiciary. Thousands marched in April against Beijing’s refusal to allow the reform.
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Xi Jinping’s warnings on a “white paper” and the possibility of the electoral reform losing legitimacy have further enraged Hong Kongers.
“This is also a great achievement for the council,” Jackie Chan, Hong Kong’s deputy leader, said of the bill.
Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying told the assembly that the mainland Chinese public will have to wait another 10 years for the right to vote. He added that voting will be “more free” than a direct election.
Hong Kong residents will only be allowed to vote for city leader in 2017 or 2020.