The United States and Britain have criticized China over a new measure that requires election candidates in Hong Kong to be screened by security authorities to ensure their loyalty to Beijing.
China's National People's Congress Standing Committee approved amendments to Hong Kong's Basic Law on Tuesday.
The changes call for candidates for Hong Kong's chief executive and legislative council to be screened by a police security department. The police are to report the results to a vetting committee, which will decide whether they can run in the election.
The Hong Kong government says it will delay the elections for the legislative council, which were initially scheduled for September, to December.
It also says the election for the next chief executive will be held in March next year. This means that both elections will be held under the new system.
A US State Department spokesperson described the move as an act that further reduces political participation and representation in Hong Kong.
The official called on the Chinese government and the Hong Kong authorities to listen to the voices of the Hong Kong people and allow them to run for elections regardless of their political views. The official also urged authorities to ensure transparency in elections.
The official also said the US will work together with its allies and friendly nations and speak out for the human rights and freedom of all Hong Kong people.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab of Britain, which ruled Hong Kong as a colony until 1997, said China's changes to Hong Kong's electoral system are a "clear breach of the Joint Declaration" between Britain and China.
He also said the decision undermines the "freedoms of the people of Hong Kong" and breaks "Beijing's international obligations."