Hong Kong’s ‘only patriots’ Legislative Council holds first session

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council meets for the first time since elections last month, with new legislation ensuring only “patriots” who have demonstrated loyalty to Beijing can run for candidates

The 90-seat Legislative Council, known as the Legislative Council, is now entirely controlled by Beijing’s allies. Leading opposition figures have been jailed, exiled or intimidated into silence, and independent media have been forced to shut down.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam held a meeting on Wednesday and took the opportunity to criticize former legislators for being “anti-China” in an attempt to destabilize Hong Kong and politicize parliamentary affairs, making it difficult for the Legislative Council to fully perform its functions. “

Carrie Lam said the Legislative Council had been “a fruitful year with a constructive and interactive relationship between the Legislative Council and the Executive, with remarkable results” since opposition members of the Legislative Council were expelled or resigned. US visa ban.

The election was delayed a year after the opposition swept the district adviser – ostensibly due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

They prompted Beijing to impose a sweeping National Security Law on Hong Kong after widespread and increasingly violent anti-government protests in 2019, followed by restructuring the electoral process and changing the composition of the Legislative Council to stack it with pro-Beijing loyalists.

Some pro-democracy activists overseas, including London-based Nathan Law, urged a boycott of the vote, saying the election was undemocratic. Under the new election law, inciting a boycott of voting or casting an invalid vote can be punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of HK$200,000 ($26,500).

The meeting opened as Hong Kong grappled with a new wave of COVID-19 infections linked to the global spread of omicron variants.

Twenty lawmakers skipped the opening after attending a large birthday party, sparking fears of a new omicron cluster when a guest tested positive for the coronavirus.

Hong Kong also closed kindergartens and elementary schools, banned flights from the U.S. and seven other countries, and detained 2,500 passengers on a cruise ship for coronavirus tests on Wednesday after the students were found to be infected, as the city tried to stem new arrivals. omicron epidemic.

Lin seems to rule out imposing a new blockade at this time.

“If we wanted a stricter approach, we would have to stay at home — and it could only be done through a curfew,” Lim said. “Today I don’t think we are at a stage where we have to take stricter measures to deal with the pandemic.”