Hong Kong Tycoons Limited to Two Election Seats Per Family, SCMP Says
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong property tycoons will be limited to two seats per family on the body that chooses the city’s leader, the South China Morning Post reported, the latest move by China to curb traditional power bases in the Asian financial hub.
The richest families of the city’s biggest conglomerates, including CK Hutchison Holdings and New World Development, have been informed of the new cap, the newspaper said in a Monday report, citing people familiar with the matter. It didn’t elaborate on who gave the order.
Beijing overhauled the city’s Election Committee earlier this year, expanding the body by 300 seats to 1,500. More than a third of those will now be handpicked by pro-Beijing groups, curtailing space for opposition members and diluting the tycoons’ power. Voting will begin on Sept. 19 for the committee, which in March elects the city’s next leader, who takes office in June.
Several prominent tycoons, including one of the city’s wealthiest men Li Ka-shing, 93, senior adviser of CK Hutchison Holdings, had already decided not to seek re-election, instead fielding one of his sons. New World Development’s Henry Cheng and Henderson Land’s Lee Shau-kee have made similar announcements.
Tycoons previously controlled about a quarter of votes on the committee, through their own seats and associates from their business empires, giving them considerable sway over who ruled the former British colony.
The changes are the latest sign of their fall from grace in Beijing. Some Chinese officials and state media blamed the tycoons for failing to prevent anti-government protests in 2019 and ignoring deep-rooted problems such as housing affordability. Beijing’s reliance on the tycoons has also shrunk markedly in recent years as China’s economy ballooned into a $14 trillion behemoth.
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