China has passed sweeping changes to Hong Kong’s electoral rules which will tighten its control over the city. The number of directly elected seats in parliament has been cut almost by half, and prospective MPs will first be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee to ensure their loyalty to the mainland. The aim is to ensure only “patriotic” figures can run for positions of power. Critics warn it will mean the end of democracy, fearing it will remove all opposition from the city parliament. The first vote under the changes, which will elect members to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo), will be held in December. Beijing’s rubber-stamp parliament first approved the plan during the National People’s Congress (NPC) meetings earlier in March.