Security official to be new leader of Hong Kong
John Lee ran unopposed to replace Carrie Lam once her 5-year term as Hong Kong's leader ends July 1. The former security chief was the only “validly nominated candidate” and received over 99 percent of the 1,500-member Election Committee’s votes Sunday. The city’s previous four chief executives were also all effectively Beijing appointees.
Do voters support him? The election followed major changes to Hong Kong’s electoral laws last year, including reorganizing the legislature to ensure that only “patriots” loyal to Beijing can hold office. The government has jailed or intimidated into silence almost all of its critics who have not fled abroad, and thousands of residents and professionals have left the city. A push to elect a leader by popular vote foundered in 2014 amid protests demanding Beijing also relinquish the right to approve candidates. In 2019, pro-democracy protests turned violent. In his position as a security official, Lee helped round up the protesters for arrest with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Dig deeper: Read Erica Kwong and June Cheng’s report in WORLD Magazine on the 2019 pro-democracy protests.
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