Hong Kong electoral reforms prevent "dictatorship of the majority", says pro-Beijing lawmaker


A general view of skyline buildings in Hong Kong, China May 28, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing's proposal for Hong Kong electoral reforms could prevent "dictatorship of the majority", a pro-Beijing Hong Kong lawmaker said, calling people who want one man one vote "politically immature".

China's rubber-stamp parliament is deliberating plans to overhaul Hong Kong's electoral system to ensure Beijing loyalists are in charge.

Hong Kong representatives to China's parliament, in Beijing this week for an annual session, say the changes are necessary and desirable.

"Many people in Hong Kong are politically immature," Martin Liao, who sits on both Hong Kong's and China's legislature, told Reuters by phone on Saturday.

"They think 'one man one vote' is the best thing, and they take advice from countries that don't even have 'one man one vote'," he said, referring to how neither the U.S. President nor the British Prime Minister is elected by a popular vote.

The proposed changes, which include expanding the city's Election Committee from 1,200 to 1,500 people, and expanding the city's Legislative Council from 70 to 90 seats, will make Hong Kong's electoral system more "representative", and less prone to "dictatorship of the majority", Liao argued.

Critics however worry that the expansion means that Beijing would be able to stack the two bodies with even more pro-establishment members, to gain the numerical superiority needed to influence important decisions such as the election of the city's Chief Executive, leaving Hong Kong voters with less direct say in who they want to lead them.

"If you are not a patriot, it's going to be hard for you to get in," Tam Yiu-chung, the only Hong Kong representative in China's top lawmaking body, the National People's Congress Standing Committee, told Reuters by phone on Saturday.

(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Ros Russell)

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