Last week, the National People’s Congress of China instituted a series of drastic changes to the country’s election laws and procedures.
The new laws will hit the hardest in Hong Kong — a formally autonomous coastal city that has taken part in several high-profile clashes with Beijing in the last decade.
According to the South China Morning Post, the new reforms will expand the size of the nation’s Election Committee from four voting blocs to five. The committee is a body of officials from various backgrounds who assist in selecting candidates and monitoring elections.
Each bloc will consist of 300 members, expanding the body to 1,500 members.
The new members will be selected from the National People’s Congress and the nation’s leading political advisory committee, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
While 300 seats were added to introduce the coalition of Beijing-loyalists, another 117 seats on the Election Committee will be eliminated under the new rules. The seats being eliminated are mostly held by opposition figures.
In addition to that change, Hong Kong’s legislative council will be expanded from 70 seats to 90. The seats will be filled by the election committee, direct elections and functional constituencies.
These changes were implemented by amending two provisions of Hong Kong’s city constitution and were put in place to ensure that only “patriots” could be selected to lead the city, according to Chinese Communist Party leadership.