China says 'bright' prospect for democracy in Hong Kong

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A police officer stands guard below China and Hong Kong flags during a flag raising ceremony, a week ahead of the Legislative Council election in Hong Kong, China, December 12, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

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BEIJING, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Prospects for democracy in Hong Kong are "bright", China said on Monday in a white paper, a day after pro-Beijing candidates won a legislative election in the city in record low turnout after a sweeping Chinese crackdown on its freedoms.

China had "restored order" and brought "democracy back on track" in Hong Kong, the State Council said in the white paper on developments in the former British colony.

The Asian financial hub was rocked by anti-Beijing and pro-democracy protests for several years before Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on it in 2020.

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The white paper attributed the turmoil to "anti-China forces" and the "foreign enemies" backing them, adding that it had "advanced the system of democracy" in Hong Kong by amending the election methods for its legislative assembly.

Candidates in Sunday's election were vetted for "patriotism" and pro-democracy candidates were largely absent, having declined to run or been jailed or forced into exile.

Pro-Beijing candidates swept to victory. read more

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Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Robert Birsel

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