China declares victory for ‘democracy’ as handpicked candidate wins nearly 100% of the vote in Hong Kong

Philip Lenczycki, DCNF

Beijing cheered on the election of a China loyalist who won the race for Hong Kong chief executive with 99% of the vote, calling his victory a win for “democracy,” Hong Kong Free Press reported Sunday.

Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong lauded the “superiority” of Hong Kong’s democratic system after John Lee, the man who enforced Hong Kong’s National Security Law, clinched 99.16% of votes cast for chief executiveHong Kong Free Press reported. Among other things, the National Security Law empowers Beijing to prosecute Hong Kongers who promote separatism, The Guardian reported.

“This election is another step in the execution of the principle of ‘patriots governing Hong Kong,’ and showed the advancement and superiority of the new electoral system, and another successful implementation in the development of democracy with Hong Kong characteristics,” Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong announced, according to Hong Kong Free Press.

China’s National People’s Congress implemented “reform” on Hong Kong’s electoral system in March 2021 to ensure the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong,” the Chinese Communist Party’s official bimonthly publication, Qiushi, reported. However, critics, such as Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, characterized Hong Kong’s electoral overhaul as Beijing “doubling down on its attempts to impose an authoritarian system on Hong Kong.”

Lee’s election results were made possible after Sin Kwok-lam, a Hong Kong film producer, “failed to collect enough nominations,” leaving Lee the only candidate on the ballot, Tian Feilong, an associate professor at Beihang University, told Chinese state-run media Global Times.

“The new electoral system is open to all the eligible candidates, but there was only one candidate left, and this was also the result of democracy,” Tian said.

Lee’s victory represents “the highest level of support in the history of the [chief executive] elections,” Lau Siu-kai, a senior government advisor, told the Global Times.

Lee announced his intention to replace Carrie Lam as chief executive after resigning from his role as Secretary of Administration of Hong Kong on April 6. Lee’s rise to chief executive follows his service as head of the Hong Kong Security Bureau between 2017 and 2021, where he was “responsible for the formulation of security policies,” according to his government profile.

During his tenure as head of Hong Kong security forces, Lee managed the enforcement of the National Security Law and oversaw the related crackdown on protests. Critics of the National Security Law, such as pro-democracy activist Nathan Law, have argued the legislation overturned the principles of “one country, two systems,” which, among other things, assured the special administrative region its own legal system.

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