Former safety chief who oversaw a crackdown on Hong Kong’s democracy motion wins management ballot.
A Hong Kong committee stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists has elected an official who oversaw a crackdown on the town’s democracy motion as its subsequent chief government.
John Lee gained 1,416 votes of approval from the 1,500-strong Election Committee on Sunday. Eight voted towards him.
His election locations a safety official in Hong Kong’s high job for the primary time.
The previous secretary for safety in Hong Kong ran beneath the slogan “Beginning a brand new chapter for Hong Kong collectively” and was the only candidate within the polls.
The 64-year-old was sanctioned by america in 2020 for his position in implementing a Beijing-imposed nationwide safety regulation that has crushed the town’s democracy motion.
Greater than 150 folks have been arrested beneath the laws, which outlaws what it phrases secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with overseas forces to intervene within the metropolis’s affairs. Practically all distinguished pro-democracy activists have additionally been jailed, with others fleeing overseas or being intimidated into silence.
Civil society teams have been disbanded whereas liberal media shops, similar to Apple Each day and Stand Information, have additionally been shut down.
Chinese language authorities say the regulation is critical to revive stability after protracted pro-democracy protests in 2019.
Beijing hailed the near-unanimous consequence on Sunday saying it confirmed “Hong Kong society has a excessive degree of recognition and approval” for Lee.
“This can be a actual demonstration of democratic spirit,” the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Workplace mentioned in an announcement.
Sunday’s vote adopted main adjustments to Hong Kong’s electoral legal guidelines final yr to make sure that solely “patriots” loyal to Beijing can maintain workplace. The legislature was in the meantime reorganised to all however get rid of opposition voices.
Because the Election Committee gathered to solid their ballots on Sunday morning, three members of the League of Social Democrats, an area activist group, protested the election by making an attempt to march in direction of the ballot venue whereas displaying a banner demanding common suffrage that will enable Hong Kong residents to vote each for the legislature and the chief government.
“Human rights over energy, the persons are higher than the nation,” the banner learn. “One particular person, one vote for the chief government. Instantly implement twin common suffrage.”
Few of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million residents have any say in selecting their chief, regardless of China’s guarantees to in the future grant full democracy to the previous British colony, which returned to Chinese language rule in 1997.
One protester was handing out flyers earlier than police arrived and cordoned off the protesters and the banner. Police additionally searched protesters’ belongings and took down their private particulars, although no arrests have been instantly made.
“That is what John Lee’s new chapter seems to be like, a shrinking of our civil liberties,” mentioned protester Vanessa Chan as dozens of law enforcement officials regarded on.
“We all know this motion could have no impact, however we don’t need Hong Kong to be fully silent,” she added.
In his election marketing campaign within the weeks main as much as the polls, Lee pledged to enact extra nationwide safety legal guidelines for Hong Kong and promised to extend the housing provide on this planet’s costliest actual property market.
He additionally mentioned he would enhance the town’s competitiveness and set a agency basis for Hong Kong’s growth.
Lee will substitute present chief Carrie Lam on July 1.