China will “improve” the way Hong Kong’s leader and other officials are appointed and replaced, a Chinese official said Friday.
Shen Chunyao, the director of the Hong Kong, Macau and Basic Law Commission, also told reporters Communist Party officials decided this week that the Hong Kong legal system will be improved to “safeguard national security.”
“We absolutely will not permit any behavior encouraging separatism or endangering national security and will resolutely guard against and contain the interference of foreign powers in the affairs of Hong Kong and Macao and their carrying out acts of separatism, subversion, infiltration and sabotage,” Shen said.
Shen’s statement comes after five months of anti-government protests over China’s meddling with the freedoms guaranteed to the city when it returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
The demonstrations started after a proposed extradition bill that could have led to Hong Kong citizens facing torture and unfair trials in mainland Chinese courts.
The extradition legislation was eventually withdrawn but authorities have rejected calls for Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to resign and for an independent inquiry into the handling of the protests by the police. Since then, protesters have broadened their demands to include greater democracy.