National security comes to the fore
Perhaps the most dramatic transformation will be the power that national security bodies beholden to Beijing will now have over the electoral process.
Any potential candidate will first be investigated by the national security department of the Hong Kong police and the city’s national security committee, a body created by Beijing last year that includes the central government’s chief representative in Hong Kong. Their reports would be handed to a new vetting committee, whose decisions on qualifying candidates are final and cannot be appealed in court.
“The amendments achieved what has been emphasized before: Patriots need to rule Hong Kong,” said Tam Yiu-chung, a pro-Beijing politician and Hong Kong’s sole delegate on the standing committee of the National People’s Congress.
He said the changes would block those who “opposed China and wreaked havoc on Hong Kong” — Beijing’s depiction of many pro-democracy figures — from holding seats in the legislature and the election committee.
The changes show that Beijing will decide how elections are held in Hong Kong, said Lau Siu-kai, a former senior Hong Kong government official who now advises Beijing policymakers on Hong Kong issues, including the electoral changes.