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For almost a quarter of a century, Hong Kong stood as the one place under Beijing’s rule with open elections. A landslide loss just over a year ago may have finally convinced China to end the experiment in democracy.

In late 2019, Hong Kong’s democratic opposition rode the momentum of historic protests to win an unprecedented 85% of the seats on local district councils. More significantly, the victory gave them scores more votes on the 1,200-member committee that selects Hong Kong’s leader — making it harder for Beijing to guarantee a loyal replacement if Chief Executive Carrie Lam left office.

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