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HONG KONG -- China's firm stand leaves the Hong Kong government with "no room for compromise" on a proposal that requires a committee of insiders to vet candidates for the city's first leadership election, a visiting U.S. lawmaker said.

U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon, a Republican from Arizona who led a fact-finding delegation to Hong Kong last week, said changes to the election bill submitted by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying last month are unlikely.

The proposal would require candidates to secure majority support from a China-controlled nominating panel before a popular vote in 2017, a condition that sparked last year's pro-democracy rallies.

"It was clear to me that there was no room for any negotiating, that the negotiating has already been done and that going forward, it's kind of take it or leave it," Salmon, who heads the U.S. House subcommittee for Asia and the Pacific, said Saturday.

The U.S. delegation arrived as Leung was working to sway at least four democrats to vote for the proposal and give it the two-thirds support it needs to pass the city's Legislative Council.

The vote -- which is expected before the legislative session ends in July -- would be a watershed event in Hong Kong's most turbulent period since the United Kingdom returned it to Chinese rule in 1997.

The delegation included Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., and Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., and it started with a visit to Vietnam. The lawmakers met with Leung and members of the city's pro-establishment and democratic camps.

A Section on 05/10/2015

Print Headline: China said steadfast on Hong Kong election

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