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China has right to 'step in' to HK election, says top official

Hong Kong

CHINA'S third most powerful leader said on Monday that Beijing had the right to "step in" to Hong Kong's leadership contest, according to local politicians who met him, in remarks fuelling fears of meddling from Communist Party leaders.

The comments by Zhang Dejiang, the head of China's Parliament and its leading official on Hong Kong issues, came after other officials played down rumours that Beijing was interfering in a race pitting China's preferred candidate against a more popular figure.

Under laws governing the former British colony since its return to Chinese rule in 1997, autonomous Hong Kong has the right to choose its chief executive via a 1,200-strong election committee stacked...

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