Hong Kong’s leader-in-waiting John Lee is set to be endorsed for the city’s top job by a committee of pro-Beijing loyalists, as the financial hub tries to revive itself after years of political upheaval.
Some 1,500 members of a pro-Beijing election committee will vote for Lee, the lone candidate, on Sunday morning at a port convention center, with a simple majority required to nominate him as Hong Kong’s next leader.
Few of the city’s 7.4 million residents have a say in choosing their leader, despite China’s promises to one day grant full democracy to the former British colony, which has returned to Chinese domination in 1997.
Lee, a former Hong Kong security secretary, has forcefully implemented China’s tougher regime under a national security law that has been used to arrest dozens of democrats, dissolve groups of civil society and shutting down liberal media outlets, such as Apple Daily and Stand News.
He pledged to revive Hong Kong as an international city and boost its competitiveness, amid fears by some Western governments that freedoms and the rule of law have been undermined by security legislation imposed by Beijing in 2020.
Chinese authorities say the law is needed to restore stability after long pro-democracy protests in 2019.
Some critics say Lee’s attempts to revive Hong Kong internationally could be hurt by sanctions imposed on him by the United States in 2020 for what Washington said was his role in “involvement in coercion , arrest, detention or imprisonment of individuals” under the Security Act. .
Lee, who says enacting more national security laws for Hong Kong will be a ‘priority’ for him after taking office, has often said Hong Kong is a law-abiding society and everyone should act according to the law. .
Among his other priorities as Hong Kong leader, Lee said he would restructure the government to strengthen policymaking and try to boost housing supply in one of the world’s most expensive real estate markets.
Australian Associated Press