A committee of 1500 carefully vetted “patriots” have “elected” John Lee, Hong Kong’s former security chief and a loyalist to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing, to serve as Hong Kong’s next premier, a move that will likely destroy any remaining vestiges of the country’s pro-democracy movement.
Lee, who took 99 percent of the vote in a sham and shoo-in election, has vowed to put an end to the “ideology of Hong Kong independence” behind the pro-democracy movements that pushed against the mainland regime in 2019.
“I look forward to all of us starting a new chapter together, building a Hong Kong that is caring, open and vibrant, and a Hong Kong that is full of opportunities and harmony,” Lee said in a statement after his easily gained election victory.
Hong Kong was once considered one of the world’s most prosperous and free nations, but no longer. Since being handed back to China by the U.K. in 1997, the special administrative region has steadily lost its autonomous governing system and civil liberties. A new and even more disturbing chapter is now being written, thanks to changes in Hong Kong’s electoral laws which only allow “patriots” like Lee to hold office.
While Carrie Lam, Lee’s predecessor, had to contend with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy politicians as she worked to enact Beijing’s controversial extradition and national security laws that largely squashed the protests, Lee will face little opposition.
“With no democrats, it will be easier for the chief executive to govern as there are fewer checks and balances,” Ivan Choy, a senior lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of Government and Public Administration, told the AP.
The Daily Wire noted that Lee, a vocal proponent of the 2019 extradition law that would have sent some indicted Hong Kongers to China to stand trial, has pledged to put an end to “the ideology of Hong Kong independence, violence, and extremism.”
The regime in Beijing is certainly pleased with the outcome of his election. The mainland’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said in a statement that the “successful election” proves the new electoral laws are “good.” Ironically, the office also noted that the new laws will further the operation of quickly dissolving the “one country, two systems” model through which Hong Kongers were historically meant to have enjoyed their unique, Western-style civil liberties.
“This is what John Lee’s new chapter looks like, a shrinking of our civil liberties,” Vanessa Chan, a pro-democracy protester, told the BBC. “We know this action will have no effect, but we don’t want Hong Kong to be completely silent.”
Samuel Chu, president of the nonprofit The Campaign for Hong Kong, told Politico that 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. [Lee has] checked the boxes to say, ‘I am going to be Beijing’s enforcer here.’”
Save a few strongly worded but ineffective statements, the West has largely stood by in silence and watched as democracy and self-government in Hong Kong dies a swift and bitter death in real-time. One wonders what might have been done in true solidarity with the people of Hong Kong if Western leaders and media outlets had provided their movement with even half the passionate support that has been afforded to the people of Ukraine in 2022.
The CCCP didn’t exactly hide its agenda to bring one of the great pro-democracy movements of the 21st century to heel — just as it has continued to blatantly threaten to encroach on Taiwan’s precarious sovereignty and to crush ethnic and religious minorities using genocide and terror.
Yet the most the United States, the greatest force for democracy and liberty the world has ever known, offered these victims of the CCP was to withhold its government representatives from attending the Olympic Games, even as American corporations happily profited off of the event, kowtowing to the Beijing regime every step of the way.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has just established the kind of “disinformation board” that sounds like it would be perfectly at home within Beijing’s politburo, and its dominant political party has taken to labeling anyone with a dissenting opinion as extremists and terrorists.
What is happening to the West’s sense of morality, liberty, and inherent civil rights? Are we truly resigned to dispassionately watching free people come under the boot of literal tyranny? Worse, are we seeing similarly power-hungry forces attacking our own unique system of self-governance and civil liberties and allowing it to happen? Either way, it is a sad state indeed when a free people stand by and do nothing.