Ex-Cop Named Hong Kong’s No. 2 as China Prioritizes Security

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Ex-Cop Named Hong Kong’s No. 2 as China Prioritizes Security” – below is their description.

    Hong Kong’s top security official John Lee will take over the city’s No. 2 spot in a cabinet reshuffle. It’s the latest sign that a crackdown on dissent, such as on pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, is central to China’s long-term plans for the Asian financial center.

    “One could not say that as the secretary for security for many years, his experience is limited to the police background or limited to the law enforcement,” said Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as she explained the decision.

    Security Secretary John Lee — a former long-time police official — will be promoted to chief secretary, replacing Matthew Cheung, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing a decision by China’s cabinet. The move comes just before the one-year anniversary of Beijing imposing a sweeping national security law on the former British colony and days after Lee led the city’s push to shut down the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper.

    Police Commissioner Chris Tang will take over Lee’s position, the State Council decided, according to Xinhua. Raymond Siu will take over Tang’s position at the law enforcement agency.

    Senior appointments are made at the recommendation of the Hong Kong government, but need final approval from Beijing. The appointments were reported earlier by local media including the South China Morning Post and Sing Tao newspapers.

    Lee was the most prominent Hong Kong official accusing Apple Daily, which is owned by the now-jailed media tycoon and democracy advocate Jimmy Lai, of violating the security law. The newspaper’s closure was condemned by U.S. President Joe Biden, who called it a “sad day for media freedom in Hong Kong and around the world.”

    China has been moving to stifle dissent in the former British colony since the security legislation was enacted on June 30 last year. This week Beijing effectively shuttered the city’s biggest newspaper critical of the government as part of efforts to tighten its grip on the media scene, while the first trial under the national security law got underway. Earlier this year, China revamped the election system to curtail the opposition’s ability to participate in government.

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