HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s legislature is moving closer to amending electoral laws that would drastically reduce the public’s ability to vote and increase the number of pro-Beijing lawmakers making decisions for the city. The second reading of the bill was passed by a 40-2 vote, with the only two non-establishment lawmakers voting against. The bill is expected to be voted on again during the third reading Thursday, but little or no opposition is expected. Once approved, it will empower the city’s national security department to check the backgrounds of potential candidates for public office and a new committee will be set up to ensure those candidates are patriotic. The legislators are largely pro-Beijing after their pro-democracy colleagues resigned en masse last year.
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