China’s parliament on Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a controversial draft plan that will increase Beijing’s grip on Hong Kong's electoral system, which has drawn criticism from the U.S.

The "patriots governing Hong Kong" is a resolution that will allow a pro-Beijing panel to approve some candidates that it deems sufficiently "patriotic," according to the BBC. The vote was 2,895-0, with one abstention, the report said.

President Xi Jinping and other party leaders looked on as delegates voted electronically, according to the Associated Press. The next step is a formal bill, which could be implemented in the city within a few months, according to reports.

Earlier this month, Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, called the electoral changes "a direct attack on Hong Kong’s autonomy, Hong Kong’s freedoms, and the democratic process, limiting participation, reducing democratic representation, and stifling political debate in order to defy the clear will of the people."

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