China’s parliament on Tuesday endorsed Hong Kong’s decision to delay elections in the semi-autonomous region by a year, state-run media reported.

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee unanimously voted to extend the terms of Hong Kong Legislative Council lawmakers by one year, the Global Times newspaper said.

The move comes as Beijing tightens security apparatus in the Asian financial hub after imposing a controversial national security law in July.

Several arrests have been made since then, including that of a media tycoon, drawing criticism from western countries.

The new rules criminalize anti-China sentiments in the region, which the UK handed over to Beijing in 1997 under a vow that it would enjoy a high level of autonomy for 50 years.

Last month, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the Legislative Council elections, originally set for Sept. 6, were re-scheduled for Sept. 5, 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The postponement was criticized by the US and others, many of whom have suspended extradition treaties with the city. 

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