Beijing loyalist John Lee elected as Hong Kong’s next leader

John Lee, former No. 2 official in Hong Kong and the only candidate for the city's top job, celebrates with his wife after declaring his victory in the chief executive election of Hong Kong in Hong Kong, Sunday, May 8, 2022. Lee was elected as Hong Kong's next leader Sunday by an election committee comprised of nearly 1,500 largely pro-Beijing members. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

John Lee, a hard-line security chief who oversaw a crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, was elected as the city’s next leader on Sunday in a vote cast by a largely pro-Beijing committee.

Lee was the only candidate and won with over 99% of the vote in which nearly all 1,500 committee members were carefully vetted by the central government in Beijing.

He will replace current leader Carrie Lam on July 1. Her five-term was marked by huge pro-democracy protests calling for her resignation, a security crackdown that has quashed virtually all dissent, the recent COVID-19 wave that had overwhelmed the health system — events that have undermined Hong Kong’s reputation as an international business hub with Western-style freedoms.