Hong Kong Election Ruling Stirs Fear Over City’s Status as Finance Hub

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Some Business and Political Leaders Warn Beijing’s Decree Threatens to Undermine Pillars of Hong Kong’s Success.

Hong Kong has prospered as a financial and business center through both British and Chinese rule by being able to largely ignore politics and focus squarely on the bottom line.

Now, politics are coming to the fore as Beijing presses unpopular changes to local election laws that some business and political leaders say threaten to undermine the pillars that have made Hong Kong a commercial success at the doorstep of the world’s second-biggest economy.

The central government in China decreed Sunday that it will effectively decide who can run for Hong Kong’s top leadership post in 2017 by requiring candidates to be approved by a committee it also helps choose—the latest in a series of reminders to the southern semiautonomous territory that China is in charge.

The ruling has created a backlash in Hong Kong. On Monday, pro-democracy legislators heckled a top Chinese official as he sought to explain Beijing’s position, while police used pepper spray to control protesters outside the venue.

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