FACTBOX-Hong Kong's new cabinet to focus on national security
Hong Kong's incoming leader John Lee has announced a cabinet that includes a number of officials with a background in security, calling it a "results-oriented" governing team that will usher in a new chapter after protracted pro-democracy protests in 2019.
Hong Kong's incoming leader John Lee has announced a cabinet that includes a number of officials with a background in security, calling it a "results-oriented" governing team that will usher in a new chapter after protracted pro-democracy protests in 2019. Lee has spoken of national security being his "fundamental mission", as well as the need to restore Hong Kong's international status and ease an entrenched housing supply problem that has fuelled the city's astronomical housing prices.
The following are some details on several incoming senior officials. JOHN LEE, 64, INCOMING CHIEF EXECUTIVE
A former top policeman turned civil servant, Lee oversaw the city's security policies during mass pro-democracy protests in 2019. He has pledged to maintain a firm grip on the city under a national security law, in line with China's sovereign interests. Lee and several of his top officials, including incoming Chief Secretary Eric Chan, security chief Chris Tang, and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang have backgrounds in either the security or disciplinary services and have been sanctioned by the U.S. government.
The new administration will take office on July 1. The United States and other countries, including Britain, have criticized the crackdown that has jailed many of Hong Kong's opposition figures, shuttered civil society groups and media outlets, as well as narrowed free speech.
Lee has described the sanctions as acts of "bullying countries". "Overall, the security personnel plays a crucial role in this cabinet which is unprecedented in Hong Kong's political history," said political commentator Sonny Lo.
"It shows the priority assigned by the central government to national security in Hong Kong." ERIC CHAN, 63, CHIEF SECRETARY
Chan is the former head of office for Hong Kong's outgoing leader Carrie Lam and is considered a trusted intermediary to Beijing. Having served as an immigration chief and then as Lam's top aide, Chan enjoys close ties to mainland officials and is known as a skilled coordinator able to bring together disparate parties on complex issues. Chan was also sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2020 for undermining the former British colony's autonomy. PAUL CHAN, 67, FINANCIAL SECRETARY
Chan continues with the job that he has held since 2017. A veteran accountant, the reappointment of Chan, who hasn't been sanctioned, was welcomed by some in the financial sector. "Having Paul Chan stay on calmed a lot of nerves," said Kher Sheng Lee, the Asia Pacific co-head of the Alternative Investment Management Association.
"We're happy that he's back and the next three to four months is going to be an opportunity to re-set and reframe the conversation about the future of Hong Kong." PAUL LAM, 54, SECRETARY FOR JUSTICE
Lam, a former head of the Bar Association and a veteran commercial barrister, is widely expected to continue to oversee the tough prosecutorial approach of his predecessor, Teresa Cheng, against opposition figures, activists, and protesters. "It is hard to see Lam rocking the boat now the national security trajectory has been set... that is not his style," said one barrister who knows Lam but declined to be named.
Lam is not under sanction and is expected to promote Hong Kong's legal system internationally, working under a leader who has repeatedly condemned international criticism of Hong Kong's rule of law since the sweeping national security legislation.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)