In particular, the new law provides that the LegCo, the Hong Kong Parliament, will increase from 70 to 90 members, but with only 20 seats allocated by direct universal suffrage against 35 seats so far.

This decision is expected to marginalize the opposition. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday promulgated a reform of the electoral system in Hong Kong, according to state media, a move that is expected to result in the total marginalization of the opposition in the semi-autonomous territory.

The standing committee of the Chinese parliament had voted earlier in the day and "unanimously" on amendments to this effect, the new China news agency said.

This reform, which was imposed by Beijing without the Legislative Council (LegCo, the Hong Kong Parliament) having a say, is part of the strong takeover of the former British colony initiated by Beijing after the huge protest movement of 2019.

A still fuzzy text

In a brief dispatch, New China merely indicates that "President Xi Jinping has signed the presidential orders promulgating the amended annexes".

But in fact, the 7.5 million inhabitants of the territory of south-east China do not know exactly what this law contains, the details of which have not been officially disclosed.

However, Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong's only representative on the top decision-making body of the Chinese parliament, provided some details.

"The amendments were passed unanimously by the 167 members of the Standing Committee," he told AFP.

Fewer seats allocated by direct universal suffrage

The new law provides that the LegCo increases from 70 to 90 members.

Only 20 seats (22% of the total) will now be allocated by direct universal suffrage, said Tam Yiu-chung.

So far, 35 seats, or half of the total, have been so.

And 40 seats will be allocated by a committee of pro-Beijing figures.

The last 30 seats will be designated by socio-professional groups, according to a convoluted system which is already in place and which has always been favorable to Beijing.

In addition, whoever stands for election must have previously been "approved" by a control committee created by the Hong Kong authorities, according to Tam Yiu-chung who explained that the body responsible for the implementation in Hong Kong of the drastic national security law would also have a say.

"The Committee for National Security and the National Security Police will prepare reports on each of the candidates to help the validation committee review process," he told AFP.