Chinese authorities Sunday confirmed the appointment of John Lee Ka-Chiu, a former security chief who oversaw the crackdown on the emerging democracy movement, has been voted as Hong Kong's new leader today, becoming the city's sixth chief executive (governor) since the return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
Lee, 64, was the only candidate in Sunday's vote, the Electoral Commission announced. He will replace outgoing Governor Carrie Lam next July. His appointment comes after the violent pro-democracy protests of 2019.
Despite Hong Kong's constitution promises of universal suffrage, fine-tune reforms have still been pending, thus prompting years of protests and public frustration. The new leader is chosen by an election committee, representing 0.02% of the city's 7.4 million inhabitants, all pro-Beijing.
Lee, a Beijing loyalist who was sanctioned by the United States in 2020, was elected after securing 1,416, or 99.2%, of the 1,428 valid votes cast by an election committee dominated by pro-Beijing political and business figures. I declare that the only candidate John Lee Ka-chiu is the winner of the election, said justice official Keith Yeung Kar-hung.
Lee is also the first former police officer to take the lead role in Hong Kong in more than a century.
Lee plans to push through Article 23, a package that includes new laws on treason, secession, sedition, and subversion required by Hong Kong's mini-constitution that have been blocked from being passed into law by protests. With loyalty and perseverance, I shall undertake this historic mission and shoulder this responsibility to unite and lead the 7.4 million Hong Kong people to start a new chapter together, Lee said after he was confirmed.
He was one of nearly a dozen Hong Kong leaders, including his predecessor Carrie Lam, who were sanctioned by former U.S. President Donald Trump in August 2020 in response to the security law that criminalizes secession, sedition, subversion, terrorism, and working with foreign agencies to undermine the national security of China in Hong Kong. He is also the first person to be elected to head the former British colony after its electoral system was overhauled by Beijing to ensure only so-called patriots held office in Hong Kong.
This election is another step in the execution of the principle of 'patriots governing Hong Kong,' and showed the advancement and superiority of the new electoral system, and another successful implementation in the development of democracy with Hong Kong characteristics, Beijing's Liaison Office in Hong Kong said in a statement, saying Lee's election is the solemn choice of Election Committee members, and the embodiment of the people's opinion.”