China's favored candidate chosen as Hong Kong's leader

28 March, 2017, 00:08 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • China's favored candidate chosen as Hong Kong's leader

Until past year Mr Tsang had served as Hong Kong's financial secretary, one of the territory's most senior positions after the chief executive and that recently occupied by Mrs Lam, who stepped down as head of the civil service.

Lam, a former No. 2 official in the city, received 777 out of 1,163 votes cast to become the next chief executive, as Hong Kong's leader is called.

CY is a reference to Hong Kong's current leader, Leung Chun-ying, who is highly unpopular because of his hard-line stance against the protesters.

A day after Beijing-backed Carrie Lam won Sunday's chief executive election, police are poised to arrest several leaders of the 2014 Occupy Movement, public broadcaster RTHK reports.

Pro-democracy activists say they are not afraid to continue their protests if Chinese officials do not listen to them. They said that the kind of ballot that was being proposed would be a sham because candidates would still have to approved by a committee like the one that has just chosen Mrs Lam. Campaigners occupied the streets for 79 days, and in 2015 lawmakers voted down China's plan.

"These last five years have been a nightmare for Hong Kong people".

Beijing's backing guaranteed that Lam would get the job.

Visiting the agency was only "part of the protocol" of the chief executive-elect, Lam said, along with visits to other offices including those of the incumbent chief executive, chief justice and Legislative Council president.

The arrests, which come more than two years after the end of the massive protests, could reignite political tensions in Hong Kong as the city prepares for its leadership transfer.


That included student protest leader Joshua Wong, who was found guilty of unlawful assembly but was spared jail time.

Lam, who will take over July 1, said she will "have no fears" to defend Hong Kong's interests against Beijing. She is considered Beijing's preferred candidate and is widely expected to win Sunday's vote.

The election bankrupted the "one country, two systems" framework and weakened the little confidence Taiwanese had in Beijing, Wu said.

If China's leaders wanted to build support among Hong Kongers, they could easily have taken a hands-off approach, and let the nominated candidates - including a third contender, retired Judge Woo Kwok-hing - fight it out amongst themselves.

Members of the Hong Kong's election committee include tycoons like Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong's richest person.

"It does somehow protect the 20th anniversary ceremony in the sense that it deters the protesters from conducting any radical or violent campaigns", said political analyst Edmund Cheng of Hong Kong Baptist University. But Hong Kong is facing a lot of problems. She also promised to defend the rule of law and freedom of expression as integral to underpinning prosperity.

"The notion of Hong Kong independence will lead nowhere", he warned. Lam was more vocal and public in her opposition to the "Occupy" protests. Lam received 67 percent of the vote and will become Hong Kong's first female leader and its fourth since British colonial control ended in 1997.

"It sends a very bad message ... when Carrie Lam tries to mend the differences, the conflicts in the community", he said. "But I believe it is very important for Hong Kong people to uphold the core value, because the more aggressive the Chinese government are, the more people will be affected". Leung has often been accused by pro-democracy campaigners of putting China's interests above those of the people of Hong Kong. Representatives of a broad number of sectors, from business to education, sit on the committee that chooses the chief executive, but the vast majority of the city's 3.8 million electorate have no say in the vote.

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