Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong are strongly criticizing China's decision to tightly control the nomination of candidates for the territory's chief executive.
The parliament's powerful Standing Committee said Sunday that candidates to become Hong Kong's next leader must receive a majority vote from a "broadly representative" nominating committee that opponents say is stacked with pro-Beijing members.
The ruling makes it unlikely that any opposition candidates will get on the ballot for the 2017 election.
Following the decision by Beijing, hundreds of pro-democracy supporters rallied in a Hong Kong park outside the territory's legislature, calling Beijing's pre-screening of candidates "fake democracy."
Leaders of the Occupy Central Movement said the decision means the group will go forward with plans to stage mass rallies in the central business district of the former British colony. They did not specify a date for the action.
All of Hong Kong's chief executives have been chosen by a small election committee stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists drawn mostly from business sectors.
Some information for this story was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.