Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says she won't seek re-election
Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam announced Monday she won't seek a second term as chief executive.
Why it matters: Under Lam's tenure, the autonomy and many of the freedoms Hong Kong previously enjoyed that had allowed the Chinese territory to flourish as a global financial hub have been encroached on.
- These include greater influence from the ruling Chinese Communist Party after massive pro-democracy protests in 2019 — notably a harsh national security law that's resulted in many of the pro-democracy movement being detained and a wider crackdown on press freedoms.
- The U.S. placed sanctions on Lam in 2020 due to her "implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes."
Worth noting: Lam received criticism from local residents and pro-Beijing lawmakers alike for mishandling Hong Kong's fifth, and biggest, outbreak of COVID-19 this year — which overwhelmed the city's hospitals in February, per the New York Times.
- Beijing sent Hong Kong "health workers, epidemiologists and technicians for testing," the NYT notes.
What she's saying: Lam said in her announcement that her decision was "entirely based on family consideration."
- "This is not a question of evaluating my performance or the performance of the Hong Kong SAR government in this term," said Lam, whom the BBC notes had been Beijing's "handpicked choice" for CEO in 2017.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of Beijing's intervention in Hong Kong's pandemic response.