Hong Kong’s new leader is Beijing’s designated ‘enforcer’

John Lee Ka-chiu’s election as Hong Kong’s new chief executive signals a decisive turn in the territory’s lurch toward Beijing-style authoritarian rule.

Lee, the territory’s former secretary of security, won an uncontested vote Sunday as the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s candidate of choice.

Lee’s victory underscores Chinese President Xi Jinping’s determination to eradicate rule of law in the former British colony — but it also risks its viability as a regional business center as foreign businesses rethink the dangers of operating in Hong Kong.

“[Beijing] chose the guy who could crush people and use the judicial system for national security purposes. … The people the Party trusts are the people who can go for the jugular and erase protests and any kind of dissent,” said Samuel Chu, president of the nonprofit The Campaign for Hong Kong. “[Lee] isn’t addressing pocketbook or livelihood issues. He’s checked the boxes to say, ‘I am going to be Beijing’s enforcer here.’”

Lee’s record of zero-tolerance for peaceful dissent made him Beijing’s natural

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