Parties Critical of Beijing Gain Seats
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Parties Critical of Beijing Gain Seats

    Parties in Hong Kong that are critical of China have retained their veto power in the legislative council, following an election there. They've secured 30 seats, 3 of which will be held by young pro-independence activists.

    Candidates critical of Beijing are celebrating their win. People were watching to see whether they would be able to hold on to their veto power.

    It's the first vote since the so-called "umbrella movement" of 2014, when young people staged pro-democracy protests for weeks.

    Under the "one country, two systems" policy, the city has more control over its affairs than those on the mainland. But protesters want to preserve that autonomy and maybe gain more.

    Some of the movement's leaders, like Nathan Law, won seats in the vote.

    "It shows how Hong Kong people want to change, and actually we were stuck in the democratic movements, and people are voting for a new way and new future of our democratic movement," Law said.

    Sunday's results seem to reflect an increase in people's concerns over the territory's autonomy. In the past few years, Beijing has been asserting stronger political influence.

    Last year, booksellers that sold titles critical of China's Communist Party were detained on the mainland. One says he was forced to confess to illegally selling the books. The incidents have sparked fears among the city's residents.

    That brought more attention to this election. Nearly 60 percent of Hong Kong's 3.7 million registered voters turned out. It was the highest figure since Britain handed the territory back to China in 1997.

    However, the results won't mean rapid change. Hong Kong's electoral system allows only half of the seats to be directly elected by the public. That means pro-Beijing camps will still be the predominant power in the legislative council.

    And with the rise of pro-democratic forces, Beijing is expected to pay even closer attention to Hong Kong's activities.