China installing former security chief as Hong Kong leader

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John Lee, former No. 2 official in Hong Kong, and the only candidate for the city's top job, attends his 2022 chief executive electoral campaign rally in Hong Kong, Friday, May 6, 2022. China is moving to install Lee as the new leader of Hong Kong in the culmination of a sweeping political transformation that has gutted the Asian financial center's democratic institutions and placed it ever more firmly under Beijing's control. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

China is installing a career security official as the new leader of Hong Kong in the culmination of a sweeping political transformation that has gutted any opposition in the Asian financial center and placed it ever more firmly under Beijing’s control.

John Lee, formerly the city’s No. 2 official, is the only candidate Sunday in what is an election in name only. Well over half of the 1,500-member Election Committee that selects the chief executive has already endorsed him and he needs only a simple majority to win.

Speaking to supporters Friday, Lee acknowledged that Hong Kong has deep-rooted problems and reiterated his intention to bring a “results-oriented” approach.

“Hong Kong has to seize its opportunity, we cannot afford to wait, we cannot be late,” the 64-year-old former police officer said. “We will have to consolidate Hong Kong as an international city, to develop Hong Kong’s potential as a free and open society, to connect the mainland of China and the world.”

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