US, G-7 partners rip selection process for Hong Kong chief executive



Members of the Group of Seven (G-7) issued a release on Monday detailing their “grave concern” with Hong Kong’s new chief executive, a pro-Beijing loyalist who won an election on Sunday to become the new leader of the semiautonomous city.

The G-7, made up of the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, criticized the election of John Lee on Sunday as “part of a continued assault on political pluralism and fundamental freedoms” in Hong Kong.

“We urge the new Chief Executive to respect protected rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, as provided for in the Basic Law, and ensure the court system upholds the rule of law,” the G-7 release read.

Lee, a longtime policeman and the former security minister in Hong Kong, won about 99 percent of the vote on Sunday, but the committee that elected him was stacked with pro-Beijing members in an election overseen by China, according to The Associated Press.

Lee will replace Carrie Lam as the new chief executive of Hong Kong, which after winning independence from the United Kingdom in 1997 was meant to operate under the doctrine of “one country, two systems” with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Lam oversaw an increasingly pro-Beijing government that cracked down on protests in 2019 against a new law that would send certain suspects to the Chinese mainland.

Lee, now 64, was head of security for the city at the time and was responsible for unleashing riot police to quell the protests in deadly clashes, the AP noted.

Hong Kong has since aligned closer with Beijing, passing a new security law in 2020 that outlawed “secession,” empowered investigative authorities, stifled free speech and the press and aligns the government more closely with China.

Over the weekend, Lee promised to “maintain a clean and efficient administration” and “establish a safe and stable environment for Hong Kong to raise its competitiveness in all aspects and step forward without any worries,” the Hong Kong Free Press reported.

In 2021, the PRC and Hong Kong officials also increased the number of nonelected members appointed to the Election Committee and curbed the voting power of residents.

In Monday’s release, the G-7 called the nomination process “a stark departure from the aim of universal suffrage and further erode the ability of Hong Kongers to be legitimately represented.”

“We are deeply concerned about this steady erosion of political and civil rights and Hong Kong’s autonomy,” the group of nations said.


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