Sat, 02 Jul 2022

Hong Kong, May 20 (ANI): China's State Council, which is equivalent to the country's cabinet on Friday appointed John Lee as the next chief executive of Hong Kong, after a dubious election on May 8 in which Lee was the sole candidate.

"The State Council, China's cabinet, decided at a meeting Friday to appoint John Lee as the sixth-term chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)," Xinhua reported.

Lee is scheduled to assume his office on July 1, taking over from current chief executive Carrie Lam.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang presided over the meeting and signed a State Council decree on Lee's appointment.

Last year, Beijing overhauled Hong Kong's electoral system and specified that only "patriots", that is, those loyal to the Communist Party could run. The changes reduced the number of elective seats in the legislature, tightened rules on who could qualify and changed the representation of the committee that picks the chief executive.

Described as withdrawn, thoughtful and quiet, Lee joined the Hong Kong police force as a probationary inspector in 1977, then under British rule.

In 2017, the current Chief Executive Carrie Lam promoted Lee to the secretary for security -- a move that set him on a trajectory to enforce and aid China's ambitions to rein in independent-minded Hong Kongers.

In early 2019, Lee helped Lam promote a controversial bill to allow extraditions from Hong Kong to mainland China. The legislation prompted anti-government protests that drew millions of people.

Lee as the head of security oversaw the crackdown, in which officers were seen repeatedly violating internal rules on the use of force.

Hong Kong, under the terms of its 1997 handover to China, was promised autonomy with "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong." Representative elections are the end goal under the Basic Law which is Hong Kong's mini-constitution.

The Chief Executive in Hong Kong is selected by a handpicked panel of about 1,500 members of the political and business elite known as the election committee. Only one candidate was approved by Beijing this year for the election. (ANI)

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