HONG KONG (AP) — John Lee, a hard-line information main who oversaw a crackdown connected Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, was elected arsenic the city’s adjacent person connected Sunday successful a ballot formed by a mostly pro-Beijing committee.
Lee was the lone campaigner and won with implicit 99% of the ballot successful which astir each 1,500 committee members were cautiously vetted by the cardinal authorities successful Beijing.
He volition regenerate existent person Carrie Lam connected July 1. Her five-term was marked by immense pro-democracy protests calling for her resignation, a information crackdown that has quashed virtually each dissent, the caller COVID-19 wave that had overwhelmed the wellness strategy — events that person undermined Hong Kong’s reputation arsenic an planetary concern hub with Western-style freedoms.
“I look guardant to each of america starting a caller section together, gathering a Hong Kong that is caring, unfastened and vibrant, and a Hong Kong that is afloat of opportunities and harmony,” Lee said successful his triumph speech.
Lam congratulated Lee successful a connection and said she would taxable the predetermination results to Beijing.
The predetermination followed large changes to Hong Kong’s electoral laws past twelvemonth to guarantee that lone “patriots” loyal to Beijing tin clasp office. The legislature was besides reorganized to each but destruct absorption voices.
The elaborate arrangements surrounding the predetermined result talk to Beijing’s tendency for a veneer of democracy. The committee members voted successful a concealed ballot, and Lee’s 1,416 votes were the highest enactment ever for the city’s apical enactment position.
Without opposition, Lee would apt person easier clip governing Hong Kong compared to Lam, said Ivan Choy, a elder lecturer astatine the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of Government and Public Administration.
“A large crushed for easier governance is that the electoral strategy has changed,” helium said. “In the legislature and the predetermination committee, determination is astir nary governmental absorption and the governmental spectrum is concentrated towards the pro-establishment camp.”
“With nary democrats, it volition beryllium easier for the main enforcement to govern arsenic determination are less checks and balances,” helium said.
The European Union’s overseas argumentation main Josep Borrell said that Lee’s predetermination “violates antiauthoritarian principles and governmental pluralism successful Hong Kong.”
“Selection process is yet different measurement successful the dismantling of the ‘one country, 2 systems’ principle,” Borrell tweeted.
The Chinese government’s liaison bureau successful Hong Kong congratulated Lee and said the predetermination was conducted successful a “fair, conscionable and orderly mode successful accordance with laws and regulations.”
Mainland China’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said successful its congratulatory enactment that the “successful election” proved that the city’s caller electoral strategy is “good” and successful enactment with the “one country, 2 systems” model that Hong Kong is governed by.
Critics accidental state of code and assembly that Hong Kong was promised to support for 50 years erstwhile it was handed implicit by Britain to China successful 1997 has vanished arsenic Beijing exerts greater power implicit the territory.
On Sunday morning, 3 members of the League of Social Democrats, a section activistic group, protested the predetermination by attempting to march toward the predetermination venue portion displaying a banner demanding cosmopolitan suffrage that would let Hong Kongers to ballot some for the legislature and the main executive.
“Human rights implicit power, the radical are greater than the country,” the banner read. “One person, 1 ballot for the main executive. Immediately instrumentality dual cosmopolitan suffrage.”
One protester was handing retired flyers earlier constabulary arrived and cordoned them off. Police besides searched the protesters’ belongings and took down their idiosyncratic details, though they made nary contiguous arrests.
The pro-democracy campy successful Hong Kong has agelong demanded cosmopolitan suffrage, which they accidental is promised successful its mini-constitution, the Basic Law. It was besides a cardinal request during monolithic protests successful 2014 and 2019.
Lee’s relation arsenic Hong Kong’s adjacent person has sparked interest that Beijing could further tighten its grip. He spent astir of his civilian work vocation successful the constabulary and information bureau, and is simply a staunch protagonist of a nationalist information instrumentality imposed connected Hong Kong successful 2020 to stamp retired dissent.
As information caput during 2019 clashes betwixt constabulary and demonstrators, helium oversaw the usage of teardrop state and rubber bullets and arrests that snuffed retired further protests.
More than 150 radical person been arrested nether the information law, which outlaws secession, subversion, coercion and collusion with overseas forces successful the city’s affairs. Almost each salient pro-democracy activists person been jailed, with others fleeing overseas oregon being intimidated into silence.
Thousands of residents person near the metropolis of 7.4 cardinal radical amid the 2019 protests and consequent harsh pandemic restrictions, including galore professionals and expatriates.
In his predetermination run successful the weeks starring up to Sunday’s polls, Lee pledged to enact long-shelved section authorities to support against information threats and vowed to summation lodging proviso successful the world’s astir costly existent property market.
He besides said helium would amended the city’s competitiveness and acceptable a steadfast instauration for Hong Kong’s development.