Hong Kong's government has posted the names of approved candidates for its most controversial Legislative Council elections since reverting to Chinese rule almost two decades ago.

A total of nine candidates have been rejected over their stance on the Chinese special administrative region's political future in what critics say is an ill omen for the city's democractic development. Three would-be candidates have said they will appeal, although no ruling is expected before the Sept. 4 elections.

The rejections are seen as a sign of China's growing political interference in the financial hub, which enjoys far greater democracy than the Communist Party-run mainland.

Friday's notice says 289 candidates have been approved to run for the 70-seat body. Twelve of those seats are being filled by candidates running uncontested.