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buy apple developer account:China says legal moves on Hong Kong a \u0027combination of punches\u0027 to end chaos

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,BEIJING — China's plans for electoral reform in Hong Kong, coupled with the imposition of a security law, amount to a "combination of punches" to quell unrest in the southern city, a top Beijing official said Friday (March 12).rrHong Kong was rocked by massive and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests in 2019 against Beijing's encroachment on its unique freedoms.  rrThe Chinese government has since cracked down on the opposition, arresting dozens of activists and smothering the street movement with a draconian national security law. rrOn Thursday it moved to ensure only "patriots" run the city, when an annual rubber-stamp parliament voted for sweeping changes to Hong Kong's electoral system — including powers to veto candidates.rrThe plan was swiftly pilloried by the US, EU and Britain, the city's former colonial ruler which handed control of the territory to Beijing in 1997 under a special "one country, two systems" arrangement.rrA Beijing official in charge of Hong Kong policy told reporters Friday the "chaos" of recent years showed that the city's electoral system has "clear loopholes and shortcomings".rrAlongside the national security law, the move represents "a combination of punches, to... effectively manage the ongoing chaos", said Mr Zhang Xiaoming, of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.rrThe problem in Hong Kong is a "political one", he said, repeating an often-used — but unproven — allegation by Beijing that outside forces are fomenting disruption in the financial hub.rr"It is a contest between a seizure of power and countering the seizure, subversion and counter-subversion, infiltration and counter-infiltration," Mr Zhang said.rr"We have no room for concession on this issue."rr'INVASIVE SURGERY'rrAt its annual congress last year, the Communist Party leadership approved the national security law that has since seen dozens of campaigners prosecuted or jailed.rrChanges to Hong Kong approved this year still need to be written and then promulgated under the country's opaque political system — but are likely to include vetting the political views of candidates in Hong Kong's legislature and reducing the number of directly elected seats.rrHong Kong's influential Election Committee, which selects the city's leader and is already stacked with Beijing loyalists, will be expanded to 1,500 representatives, up from 1,200. rr"To be precise, this is a minimally invasive surgery," Mr Zhang said of the reform proposals.rr"Minimally invasive surgery is characterised by small wounds, deep penetration, and quicker postoperative recovery."rrHe insisted "you will still be able to hear different voices" in Hong Kong government.rrAfter the proposed reform was approved criticism has poured in from the United States and the European Union.rrThe move is "a direct attack on autonomy promised to people in Hong Kong under the Sino-British Joint Declaration" before the handover of the territory in 1997, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.rrMr Blinken also urged Hong Kong to go ahead with September elections, which the city's pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam has hinted will be delayed again.rrThe EU said the decision would have a "significant impact on democratic accountability and political pluralism in Hong Kong." AFPr
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