By KIM TONG-HYUNG
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Members of South Korea’s ruling conservative party have proposed a bill that would place tighter restrictions on the voting rights of foreign permanent residents in local elections. They say it’s necessary to protect democracy from being undermined by Chinese voters. Critics say the efforts could exacerbate anti-Chinese racism and would be a step back in an increasingly multicultural society that must embrace immigration to make up for a shrinking population. People Power Party lawmaker Kweon Seong-dong, a close ally of President Yoon Suk Yeol, says it’s crucial to prevent the voting system from being exploited by other governments. Under current law, foreign nationals with at least three years of permanent residency can vote for mayors, governors, and local council members.