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> However, it does have long-term implications. One online commentator even jokes that, how can Hong Kong's freedoms and autonomy be guaranteed under one country, two systems, when the one country can now be ruled by an emperor?>> Fifteen candidates are running for seats up for grabs this weekend, but voters say the mood is subdued.
The city is ruled by China under a one country, two systems formula, ensuring limited democracy. However, Reuters' Venus Wu reports that activists worry if the opposition loses these seats, Hong Kong will resemble China's parliament, and merely bend to the Communist Party.>> A lot of people are seeing this by-election as a protest vote against China's perceived increased interference in the city's autonomy.
Some critics argue that the disqualification of the six lawmakers itself is an act of political screening. The six were kicked out of the legislature because they have angered Beijing. And some of them have crossed Beijing's red line on Hong Kong independence. But Beijing and Hong Kong authorities blame the lawmakers themselves, saying they have not taken the oaths of office properly.
>> These polls also happen to fall on the same day that China is set to remove term limits for Beijing's presidency, allowing Xi Jinping to potentially rule indefinitely.>> In Hong Kong, while people casually chat over dinner about how Xi Jinping could become a president for more than two terms, it is not really a focus in the legislative council by-elections.
Results are difficult to predict. There are no polls, there are few election banners, even fewer televised debates, and the streets are mostly quiet.