28 May 2022, 11:48

Hong Kong's next leader visits Beijing for official nod

HONG KONG, May 28, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Hong Kong's next leader John Lee
travelled to Beijing on Saturday to receive the central government's blessing
as he prepares to take office in a month.

Lee, 64, a former security chief who oversaw the crackdown on Hong Kong's
democracy movement, was chosen as the next chief executive by a small
committee of Beijing loyalists in early May.

He was the sole candidate in the race and received 99 percent of the vote,
after China remoulded Hong Kong's electoral system in 2021 to ensure anyone
deemed unpatriotic would be ineligible to run.

As part of a four-day trip, Lee will be officially appointed and is expected
to meet with top Chinese leaders, according to local media.

The South China Morning Post reported that Lee is expected to meet Chinese
President Xi Jinping, and will present a list of his team for approval.

The incoming chief executive will have to undergo testing and quarantine over
the weekend, and will not be able to meet outsiders during his trip, the
report said.

Lee will assume office on July 1, which coincides with the 25th anniversary
of Hong Kong's transfer from British to Chinese rule and the halfway point of
the "One Country, Two Systems" political model.

It is not yet confirmed whether Xi will visit Hong Kong for the 25th
anniversary celebrations, which will be seen as a symbolic endorsement of
Lee's new administration.

Such a trip would also mark the first time he has travelled outside the
Chinese mainland since the pandemic began.

In July 2017, Xi attended the swearing-in of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam as
part of a three-day trip, which also included a visit to the local Chinese
army barracks.

But the protests that accompanied Xi's 2017 trip are not likely to be
repeated this year, after Beijing imposed a national security law that has
clamped down on dissent.

More than 10,000 police officers will be deployed in the event a Chinese
leader does visit Hong Kong, local publication Eastweek magazine reported.

Local authorities are also finding ways to protect Xi against the risk of
coronavirus infection, as both Hong Kong and China remain committed to a
zero-Covid strategy.

Xi may opt for a day trip or scrap the visit entirely if new coronavirus
outbreaks are found, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • Latest News
  • Most View
Beta Version