Beijing loyalist John Lee elected as Hong Kong’s next leader

HONG KONG — John Lee was elected as Hong Kong’s next leader Sunday by an election committee comprised of practically 1,500 largely pro-Beijing members.

Lee obtained 1,416 votes within the chief government election, far exceeding the 751 votes wanted to win. More than 97 % of the Election Committee solid their votes in a secret poll Sunday morning.

As the one candidate within the polls, Lee was anticipated to win, particularly since he has Beijing’s endorsement and final month obtained 786 nominations from members of the Election Committee in assist of his candidacy.

Lee will substitute present leader Carrie Lam on July 1.

The election on Sunday follows main modifications to Hong Kong’s electoral legal guidelines final 12 months to make sure that solely “patriots” loyal to Beijing can maintain workplace. The legislature was additionally reorganized to all however get rid of opposition voices.

The elaborate preparations surrounding the pre-determined final result communicate to Beijing’s need for a veneer of democracy. Though they may vote in a secret poll, Hong Kong’s electors have all been rigorously vetted.

On Sunday morning, three members of the League of Social Democrats, a neighborhood activist group, protested the election by making an attempt to march towards the election venue whereas displaying a banner demanding common suffrage that will permit Hong Kongers to vote each for the legislature and the chief government.

“Human rights over energy, the individuals are higher than the nation,” the banner learn. “One particular person, one vote for the chief government. Immediately implement twin common suffrage.”

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 had been instantly made.

The pro-democracy camp in Hong Kong has lengthy demanded common suffrage, which they are saying is promised to town in its mini-constitution, the Basic Law. It was additionally a key demand within the 2014 Umbrella Revolution protests and 2019 anti-government demonstrations.

Lee as Hong Kong’s future leader has sparked concern that Beijing might additional tighten its grip on Hong Kong. He spent most of his civil service profession within the police and safety bureau, and is an outspoken and staunch supporter of a nationwide safety regulation imposed on Hong Kong in 2020 geared toward stamping out dissent.

His rise grew out of huge anti-government protests in 2019 that spiraled into violent clashes. As safety secretary, he oversaw the police marketing campaign to confront protesters with tear fuel and rubber bullets, then rounded lots of them up for arrest later.

More than 150 individuals have been arrested below the safety regulation, which outlaws secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with international forces to intervene within the metropolis’s affairs. Almost all distinguished pro-democracy activists have been jailed, with others fleeing overseas or being intimidated into silence.

Thousands of residents have left town of seven.4 million individuals amid the 2019 protests and subsequent harsh pandemic restrictions, together with many professionals and expatriates.

In his election marketing campaign within the weeks main as much as Sunday’s polls, Lee pledged to enact long-shelved native laws to guard in opposition to safety threats and vowed to extend housing provide on the earth’s most costly actual property market.

He additionally stated he would enhance town’s competitiveness and set a agency basis for Hong Kong’s growth.

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