Amendments put HK political system back into balance
First Voice

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The National People's Congress on Tuesday approved amendments to the Hong Kong Basic Law that will enact democratic changes suitable to Hong Kong's current situation.

The changes will provide much-needed stability to the international trading hub, whose economy is still recovering from damage by foreign-backed separatist insurrectionists.

The changes will also enlarge the number of representatives, and make Hong Kong's electoral system more democratic and responsive to Hong Kong people and stakeholders.

Politics is ideally the tool that improves the lives of citizens. But sometimes a political system goes off the rails, and politics can become an anchor that weighs down society.

This is what has happened in Hong Kong over the past few years.

Hong Kong people, in the spirit of the city's long-held pluralistic traditions, at first may have held a variety of passionate views over the merits of an extradition bill designed to counter terrorists and separatists.

But quite quickly, the focus of politics changed from specific legislation to youthful street rioting egged on by foreign forces, whose influence was threatened by the bill.

Ironically, this outsider-fueled violence proved why the bill is necessary in the first place.

Hong Kong politics no longer focuses on any single issue, but questions support to or opposition of the government.

Influenced by the same foreign forces that fueled the "color revolutions," some naive young people were beguiled into throwing sand into the gears of society until the machinery of government ground to a halt.

The political system was clearly broken and no longer serving common people, who first and foremost wanted a return to calm and a path to prosperity – not a pointless, hopeless civil war.

Amid the violence, many voices supporting the rioting and separatism managed to manipulate the political system to secure voices in government.

These people called for foreign interference and proudly met with representatives of hostile governments. Their presence via loopholes in the special administrative region's Basic Law risked permanently destabilizing Hong Kong.

An elevated walkway is burning during clashes between rioters and police outside Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, China, November 17, 2019. /Reuters

An elevated walkway is burning during clashes between rioters and police outside Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, China, November 17, 2019. /Reuters

With this background, the National People's Congress approved new amendments to the Hong Hong Basic Law Annex 1 and 2.

The amendments aim to fix Hong Kong's political system, putting it back into balance and ensuring all stakeholders in Hong Kong society are properly represented.

Traitors and separatists who long for the days of colonial domination will be denied any chance for office.

Just like in the U.S., the UK and almost every other nation, officeholders will be required to be patriots and take an oath of allegiance. Those whose stated aim is to bring down the government will be barred from holding office.

Separatists and those doing the bidding of hostile foreign forces will not be given a seat at the table.

The amendments will create a vetting committee to screen out candidates for office who are not loyal to Hong Kong.

The Election Committee, an electoral college similar to what the U.S. uses to choose its president, will be expanded from 1,200 to 1,500 members.

Currently, the committee is a mix of representatives from business, professions, social groups from areas like labor, religion and culture, and representatives from neighborhoods and districts.

Under the new amendment, a fifth sector will be created, representing national organizations, reflecting the increasingly strong commercial and cultural ties connecting Hong Kong with the Chinese mainland.

The expanded electoral college will also be empowered to elect some members to the Legislative Council (LegCo), which will also be enlarged from 70 seats to 90.

These changes ensure that all sectors of contemporary Hong Kong society have a voice in the government.

They will provide a voice at the table for national organizations that have an ever-increasing role in Hong Kong as ties with the Chinese mainland increase, and screen out the pawns of hostile foreign forces that seek to hamstring China by creating chaos and encouraging separatism in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's democracy is not a winner-takes-all system, where a simple majority party can silence minority voices. Instead, it has been designed so that sectors of society – as varied as textile workers, Chinese medicine practitioners, Muslims, and newspaper publishers – all have a voice, in addition to representatives elected by geographical district.

This ensures that voices of every segment in society can be heard and considered in crafting legislation and choosing Hong Kong's chief executive.

This will not change with the new amendments. By shaking off the malicious influence of traitors and increasing the democratic representation of the people and stakeholders, Hong Kong's democracy will emerge stronger than ever.

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