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foreign affairs

China denies open elections for Hong Kong

China's legislature on Sunday ruled out the possibility of holding open nominations to elect Hong Kong's new leader, a shocking move that could precipitate a deepening divide between the city and the mainland.

The restrictions, outlined by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, would allow for the first direct election in Hong Kong in two years. Yet prospective candidates would first need to be approved by Beijing, leaving China with a crucial role in determining who would and would not be allowed to lead.

"It's certain now that the central government will be effectively appointing Hong Kong's chief executive," Alan Leong, a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, said.