Former Hong Kong Security Chief John Lee became the new chief executive after a closed selection process in which he was the only candidate.
A closed-circle committee made up of 1,461 people, which roughly represents 0.02% of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million population and who are mostly pro-Beijing loyalists, appointed Lee to replace outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
According to officials, 99% or 1,416 members of the committee voted in favor of Lee while eight voted against him.
The appointment is widely seen as a move by the Chinese government to tighten its grip on Hong Kong.
Lee, 64, oversaw the crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and supported the controversial national security law, which criminalized most forms of political protest.
The United States had sanctioned Lee for his role in implementing the law.
The European Union (EU) condemned Lee’s appointment as “yet another step in the dismantling of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle.”
“The EU calls on Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to abide by their national and international commitments, notably the ultimate aim of electing the Chief Executive and members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage,” EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borell said in a statement.
The League of Social Democrats — one of the remaining pro-democracy groups in the city — staged a three-person protest before the polls opened on May 8.
“Power to the people, universal suffrage now,” the group protested.
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