Ex-security chief anointed HK’s next leader
A former security chief who oversaw the crackdown on Hong Kong's democracy movement was anointed the business hub's new leader yesterday by a small committee of Beijing loyalists. John Lee, 64, was the only candidate in the Beijing-backed race to succeed outgoing leader Carrie Lam. The elevation of Lee, who is under US sanctions, places a security official in the top job for the first time after a tumultuous few years for a city battered by political unrest and debilitating pandemic controls. Despite the city's mini-constitution promising universal suffrage, Hong Kong has never been a democracy, the source of years of public frustration and protests since the 1997 handover to China. Its leader is instead chosen by an "election committee" currently comprised of 1,461 people -- roughly 0.02 percent of the city's population. After a brief secret ballot yesterday, 99 percent of those who cast ballots (1,416 members) voted for Lee while only eight voted against, according to officials.