07/15/2016, 15.00
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Parliamentary candidates "must swear allegiance to China"

In September, vote for the renewal of the Legislative Council, the executive body of the former British colony. In surprise move the government, close to Beijing, imposes a "formal act of acceptance" of Hong Kong "as an inalienable part of the Chinese mainland." Those who refuse will not be admitted. Democrats protest, amid  fear of the new push for independence, led by young people.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The Hong Kong government has imposed candidates in the upcoming election for the Legislative Council a "clear" declaration of their commitment to the idea that the Territory "is an inalienable part of the Chinese mainland." Those who refuse will not be admitted to the electoral race, while those who accept will have to sign a document that will talk subject them to future prosecutions in case of "breach of agreement".

At present, applicants must agree to "serve the Basic Law [small" democratic constitution "in force until 2047] and" be faithful in Hong Kong". Instead, the new request implies they place Beijing before the Territory, and according to several Democrats it is illegal. Some observers note that it is a move in response to the independence movement, which in recent months has gathered force mainly because of the support it has received from several youth groups.

Law Yuk-kai, director of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, describes the move as   "political censorship" that "violates the freedom of thought."

The Hong Kong parliament (Legislative Council) is made up of 60 members. Of these, 24 are elected directly; 6 by a government election committee; the other 30 are elected according to the corporations (functional constituencies, FC), consisting of the financial sector, tourism, trade, labor, etc. who vote for their representative.

The population has been protesting for some time against the discrepancies in representation between electoral bases: for direct elections there are 3.2 million voters; for FC elections there are only 200 thousand voters, but both areas there is almost the same number of eligible MPs, namely 30. In this way a small number of voters have a  "disproportionate" influence in the legislative assembly.

Another discrepancy is that at least 8 FCs do not allow an individual vote, but only through "organizations." For example, the votes are not cast by individual workers in the sector, but by the unions, who vote their representatives. For some time the Catholic Church and the democratic movements have been calling for a reform of the entire electoral system, including the opportunity to vote directly for the head of government, but Beijing's veto blocks everything.

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