Ex-security chief John Lee elected as Hong Kong’s next leader

Lee has vowed to bring in 'result-oriented' governance, forge unity and reboot the city’s economy



Reuters
Reuters

By AFP

Published: Sun 8 May 2022, 4:04 PM

A former security chief who oversaw the crackdown on Hong Kong’s democracy movement was anointed the business hub’s new leader on Sunday by a small committee of Beijing loyalists.

John Lee, 64, was the only candidate in the Beijing-backed race to succeed outgoing leader Carrie Lam.

The elevation of Lee, subject of US sanctions, places a security official in the top job for the first time after a tumultuous few years.

The city's leader is chosen by an “election committee” currently comprised of 1,461 people — roughly 0.02 per cent of the city’s population.

After a brief secret ballot on Sunday, 99 per cent (1,416 members) voted for Lee while eight voted against, according to officials.

Beijing hailed the near-unanimous result saying it showed “Hong Kong society has a high level of recognition and approval” for Lee.

“This is a real demonstration of democratic spirit,” the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office said in a statement.

Under the slogan “Starting a new chapter for Hong Kong together”, Lee has vowed to bring in “result-oriented” governance, forge unity and reboot the city’s economy.

A 44-page manifesto he released last week stuck to broad goals and offered few concrete policies or targets.

Lee has said he will unveil more details when he makes his first policy address.

Lee will take office on July 1, the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China from Britain.

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China agreed that Hong Kong could maintain certain freedoms and autonomy for 50 years after retaking control from Britain under a “One Country, Two Systems” formula.

Beijing and Lee say that formula is still intact.

Critics, including many Western powers, say it has been shredded.

Lee is one of 11 senior Hong Kong and Beijing officials sanctioned by the United States because of the political crackdown.


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