No democratic process in Hong Kong for new leader - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

No democratic process in Hong Kong for new leader

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HONG KONG (KNOE 8 News/AP) - Beijing's top official in semiautonomous Hong Kong says the public won't be able to nominate candidates for the city's next leadership race in 2017.

It's the strongest sign yet from Beijing that residents of the former British colony won't be allowed to freely choose their next leader.

Zhang Xiaoming said in an open letter Thursday that a provision in the city's mini-constitution requires candidates to be chosen by a "broadly representative nominating committee."

"There is no other option," Zhang wrote in the letter responding to a lawmaker's proposal.

Since Beijing regained control of Hong Kong in 1997, leaders have been chosen by an elite panel of mainly pro-Beijing tycoons.

Beijing has promised to allow Hong Kongers to elect their leader in 2017 but no outline has been given.

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