Beijing announces – in its uniquely convoluted and ritualistic way – that John Lee will be Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive. He is promptly ‘showered with praise’. It seems that, rather than fabricate a quasi-competitive process, the Chinese government will present Lee as the sole ‘candidate’…
Lau Siu-kai, the vice-president of Beijing’s top think tank on Hong Kong, said … Beijing wants to make sure there is no damage to the unity among the patriotic camp that would allow foreign forces to take advantage of the situation at the current time.
Lau also said he believes if Lee becomes the next Hong Kong leader, he will take an even tougher approach against anti-China disruptors.
‘Even tougher’ than what? The last couple of days have included denial of bail in a freedom-of-expression case, arrests for ‘sedition’ (clapping in court), and hefty rioting sentences from 2019. ChinaFile compiles a full report on NatSec regime action against speech crimes, foreign interference and subversion since mid-2020.
John Burns writes in an HKFP op-ed…
Selecting John Lee for chief executive, dependent for his authority on the party and the police, is a calculated move. Authorities are telling us that political skills do not matter, and that neither does inspiring and mobilising the people of Hong Kong. Yet we need inspiring leaders, able to mobilise. So, who will do that?
It’s possible Beijing will allow someone more warm-and-cuddly as, say, Chief Secretary to act as the human face of a grim and menacing regime. But this assumes the CCP is subtle enough to see a need for such a figure. The word is that Lee’s fellow ex-cop Chris Tang will take the number-two position in the ‘even tougher’ administration. Local officials might pay lip-service to the idea of a Hong Kong attractive to the middle class and international business, but Beijing’s priority is to force the city to submit and obey, and root out anything that won’t.
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