The Chinese region of Hong Kong has a new leader: John Lee will replace Carrie Lam. As the top security officer, Lee has been responsible for crushing pro-democracy protests and is on the US sanctions list. The European Union regrets the situation.
In Hong Kong, Carrie Lam got a successor. Jun Lee was officially appointed as the new head of government for the Chinese region on Sunday afternoon (local time). As the top security officer, Lee was responsible for crushing pro-democracy protests in 2019. As a result, he was placed on the US sanctions list in 2020.
However, 64-year-old Jun Lee can still count on the approval of Chinese elites. And he got 1,416 votes from the Elections Committee. Eight voted against him, but there was no other candidate on the list. Some Chinese critics fear that Western sanctions against Lee will delay the region’s economic restart.
The EU regrets the way it has been assigned to me. “This is another step in dismantling the ‘one country, two systems’ principle,” said Spain’s High Representative for European Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell. Officially Hong Kong has the status of a special administrative region in China, but that system has eroded in the past two years.
Beijing, for example, has scaled back the Electoral Commission nominated by Jun Lee. “It weakened the already limited democratic content of the board,” Borrell said. China has already comprehensively reshaped parliament. Only 20 of the parliament’s 90 seats are eligible for general elections (compared to 35 of the previous 70). In addition, each candidate had to show “love for the homeland”.
On behalf of the European Union, Borrell reminds China and Hong Kong of their obligation to allow the election of the Head of Government and Parliament by universal suffrage.
In his speech, Lee said he would lead a “historic mission” to determine Hong Kong’s next chapter. It promises to unite the city and maintain its open character. According to him, the controversial Security Law, which allows the extradition of Hong Kong residents to China, is necessary to maintain stability in the region. Street protests against this law in 2019 were met with violent and repressive police crackdowns. In the wake of the protests, China has tightened its grip on the region.
Carrie Lam said in April that she was applying for a second term to spend more time with her family. Under her rule, the situation in Hong Kong escalated.
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