May 8, 2022 - World

Pro-Beijing former security chief elected as Hong Kong's next leader

John Lee
John Lee waves on stage after being elected at the Exhibition and Convention Centre on May 8. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

John Lee, Hong Kong’s former hard-line secretary for security, was elected Sunday to be the city's next leader by a committee filled with Chinese government loyalists, AP reported.

Why it matters: Lee helped lead the crackdown on the city's pro-democracy protestors in 2019.

  • His win is seen as a sign of the Chinese government's tightening grip on Hong Kong, the BBC reported.

The big picture: Lee was the only candidate in the election and won 1,416 votes in the election committee, while only only eight voted against him, per Reuters.

  • Nearly all members of the committee are carefully vetted by the central government in Beijing, per AP. Lee will replace Hong Kong's current leader Carrie Lam on July 1.
  • Lee has already indicated that he will look to introduce more national security legislation — previous iterations of which have led to the arrest of pro-democracy activists and politicians — and possibly a law against "fake news," CNN reported.

What they're saying: “Having restored order from chaos, it is high time that Hong Kong starts a new chapter of development, a chapter that will be geared toward greater prosperity for all,” Lee said in his victory speech, the New York Times reported.

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