New Hong Kong Government Includes 4 Officials Sanctioned by US

New Hong Kong Government Includes 4 Officials Sanctioned by US
Hong Kong's former chief secretary and current chief executive candidate John Lee speaks to the media in Hong Kong on April 20, 2022. (Dale De La Rey/AFP via Getty Images)
Aldgra Fredly

Hong Kong’s incoming chief executive, who is sanctioned by the United States, has unveiled a new Cabinet ahead of his July 1 inauguration ceremony, which includes three pro-Beijing lawmakers also under sanctions for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Washington sanctioned several Hong Kong officials in 2020 after they helped pass laws that have expanded Beijing’s influence over Hong Kong society and its institutions, including outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her successor, John Lee Ka-chiu.

Lee has appointed the following sanctioned officials—chief secretary for administration Eric Chan, secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs Erick Tsang, and security chief Chris Tang.
Lee told reporters on June 19 that he would pay little heed to such sanctions, calling them the United States’ way of intimidating Hong Kong’s officials, local media The Standard reported.

“Some countries of bullies tried to intimidate [Hong Kong] officials with measures like sanctions, especially after their plots to sabotage our national security failed because of the measures we deployed,” Lee said. “This made us more determined in continuing to discharge our duties of defending national security.”

Lee, Hong Kong’s former secretary for security, was sanctioned by the United States in 2020 for his role in enforcing the Hong Kong national security law that has been used to arrest scores of anti-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and pro-democracy advocates, and disband civil society groups.

He was elected by a pro-Beijing election committee as the country’s next chief executive last month after winning the votes of 1,416 members in a poll in which he was the sole candidate. Eight members voted not to support him.

Lee will be sworn in as Hong Kong’s new leader on July 1, succeeding Carrie Lam, who is nearing the end of her five-year term.

According to the Hong Kong Journalists Association, several independent local and international news outlets weren’t invited to attend Lee’s inauguration ceremony. It claimed that previous official events were open to the media without requiring invitations.
“Barring some media outlets from freely covering such events severely undercuts the credibility of incoming chief executive Lee, who has repeatedly said that Hong Kong enjoys press freedom,” Steven Butler of the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement.

Lee had pledged to unite the city and preserve Hong Kong’s international status as an open and more competitive financial hub.

He argued that the CCP’s national security law was necessary to restore “stability” after protracted pro-democracy protests in 2019 and to safeguard Hong Kong from internal and external threats.

Few of the city’s 7.4 million people have any say in choosing their leader, despite the CCP’s promises to one day grant full “democracy” to the former British colony, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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