BEIJING — China on Thursday expressed regret over the defeat of Hong Kong's controversial Beijing-backed electoral plans, saying the result of the vote was something it was "unwilling to see."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated Beijing's support for the proposal, saying it remained the best hope for the semi-autonomous Chinese territory's continued prosperity.
"That the chief executive of the Special Administrative Region's government should not be elected as such in 2017 is a result we are unwilling to see," Lu said at a regular news briefing, using a standard Chinese expression of regret at the outcome.
Since Hong Kong is part of China, the reforms are a domestic matter and no other countries are permitted to intervene, Lu said.
Following a lengthy debate, 28 lawmakers voted against the proposals, which had sparked huge street protests in the southern Chinese city last year. Eight others voted in favor.
The proposals would have allowed Hong Kong residents to vote directly for the chief executive in 2017, but only after the candidates had been approved by Beijing. Opponents said that fell short of Beijing's pledge of true universal suffrage.