Hong Kong security chief named No.2 amid crackdown
HONG KONG (AP) – China on Friday promoted Hong Kong’s top security official to second in the territory as Beijing continues to crack down on free speech and political opposition.
Chief Executive Officer Carrie Lam has said Security Secretary John Lee will replace Matthew Cheung as the city’s chief secretary, while Police Chief Chris Tang will take over Lee’s role.
The changes come a year after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the former British colony and a day after Hong Kong’s last pro-democracy newspaper, the Apple Daily, published its final edition.
Police froze $ 2.3 million in the newspaper’s assets, raided its offices and arrested five editors and senior executives last week, accusing them of foreign collusion to endanger national security. Its founder, Jimmy Lai, faces charges under the National Security Act for foreign collusion and is currently serving jail time for his involvement in a pro-democracy protest movement in 2019.
Beijing promised that Hong Kong could maintain its civil liberties for 50 years after the former British colony was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997, but essentially abandoned this commitment to impose full political control and end what ‘he considers it an undue foreign influence on the semi-institutions of the autonomous city.
China effectively ended multi-party democracy in Hong Kong by having the ceremonial Chinese legislature impose the National Security Law without debate or vote in the city’s Legislative Council. He then decided to fill the Legislative Council with Beijing worshipers while drastically reducing the proportion of lawmakers directly elected by voters.
In recent months, police have arrested most of the city’s pro-democracy activists. Most remain in custody, while others have sought asylum abroad, under threat from the Lam administration for past statements and actions deemed unfair to China or in violation of the law. Hong Kong law as it currently exists.
Despite the overwhelming emphasis on security, Lam told reporters that the role of the chief secretary in overseeing the day-to-day administration of the Asian financial center, including handling the COVID-19 pandemic, had failed. not changed.
Yet she appeared to recognize Beijing’s increasingly assertive role in running the city’s affairs and the central government’s demand for absolute loyalty from Hong Kong officials and members of the Legislative Council.
“Today, as the chief executive, I am responsible not only to Hong Kong but also to the central government, fulfilling national duties, especially protecting national security,” Lam told reporters. “So, for people who are committed, with integrity, leadership and motivation to serve the nation and Hong Kong… we will do our best. ”