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Hong Kong's new chief is alleged to be 'untested' in areas apart from safety

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Hong Kong’s incoming chief govt John Lee has targeted on safety all through his profession and is essentially “untested” in different areas, in keeping with the CEO of a consultancy.

“He’s a blank sheet of paper for most people in the community. That gives him flexibility, I think,” mentioned David Dodwell of Strategic Access.

“But it means that how he’s going to manage is perhaps more uncertain … than any leadership we’ve had in the past 25 years,” he instructed CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday.

Lee, a Beijing loyalist and the one candidate for Hong Kong’s prime put up, received the overwhelming majority of votes in Sunday’s election.

“His lifetime has been devoted to security issues, first in the police force and then as security secretary here in Hong Kong. He’s by and large untested and unknown, for that matter, in any other areas,” mentioned Dodwell.

The approach Lee governs Hong Kong will rely on the workforce that is assembled round him, he added.

Michael Tien, a Hong Kong lawmaker, who mentioned he voted for Lee in Sunday’s election, instructed CNBC the following chief govt’s slender expertise might be a very good factor.

“The weakness that people perceive in John Lee is that he’s only been in security and seems to have very little experience in any other areas of public governance,” he instructed CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Monday.

“On the other hand, it could also be a strength if he can turn that [around] and be open minded by listening to others,” Tien mentioned.

Sunday’s vote

Hong Kong’s authorities mentioned Sunday that 1,416 members of the largely pro-Beijing election committee voted for Lee. Some 1,428 votes had been forged within the secret poll — which gave Lee greater than 99% of the votes.

Lee will start his five-year time period on July 1, taking on from incumbent chief govt Carrie Lam.

Hong Kong is a particular administration area of China ruled beneath the “one country, two systems” framework. The metropolis has restricted election rights and its authorized and financial system is essentially separate from the mainland.

Last 12 months, Hong Kong’s electoral system went by a serious reform, and Beijing mentioned solely so-called “patriots” ought to be allowed to run town.

“It’s a big stretch” to explain Hong Kong’s vote as a “genuine election” when evaluating it to the Philippines’ election, Dodwell mentioned.

The Philippines held its presidential election on Monday the place greater than 67 million voters registered to take part. In comparability, Hong Kong’s election committee has about 1,500 members who may take part in Sunday’s vote.

The individuals who forged votes are “carefully filtered as patriotic supporters of the government,” and the end result is “hardly surprising,” he mentioned.

Tien mentioned the system in Hong Kong is “pretty much the same format as on the mainland” now, however mentioned the variety of opposing votes issues.

“If you collect surprisingly high opposition votes, that means you’re not doing a good job,” he mentioned.

The eight votes in opposition to Lee present that there are people who find themselves nonetheless not sure about him, Tien mentioned, including that it is one thing Lee ought to be aware of.

Both the European Union and the G-7 international ministers additionally issued statements criticizing the method of choosing Lee as chief govt.

In response, a Hong Kong authorities spokesman mentioned these feedback had been “misleading” and are a “blatant interference into the internal affairs” of town.

“Any allegation that the improved electoral system has weakened democracy in the governance of Hong Kong is misguided,” the press launch mentioned.

Challenges forward

Dodwell mentioned the brand new chief should handle the divisions that sit “at the heart of Hong Kong,” which have not gone away.

The previous few years have been politically turbulent in Hong Kong, particularly in 2019 when pro-democracy protests over a now-withdrawn extradition invoice turned violent.

China handed a nationwide safety regulation for Hong Kong in 2020. The regulation is supposed to ban secession, subversion of state energy, terrorism actions and international interference, in keeping with Lam. The U.S. and U.Okay., nonetheless, mentioned the laws would undermine town’s autonomy.

In Hong Kong, the notion of popping out, reaching out, shaking fingers and listening to the mass is essential, significantly when it is a one-person race …

Michael Tien

Hong Kong lawmaker

“We have, structurally, a very divided community between those that feel fiercely patriotic and those who feel anxious about the loss of various institutional protections,” he mentioned.

Dodwell additionally mentioned Hong Kong’s earlier leaders didn’t deal with “core social issues” within the metropolis equivalent to jobs and housing.

“I think that’s one of the reasons why John Lee is saying he’s going to lead a result-oriented administration. People are going to expect for some very specific achievements and very soon,” he mentioned.

Tien mentioned Lee ought to “come out and get close to the people and the crowd,” which Lam didn’t do lately.

“In Hong Kong, the perception of coming out, reaching out, shaking hands and listening to the mass is important, particularly when it’s a one-person race and the result is pretty much guaranteed,” mentioned Tien.

In remarks to the media after Sunday’s vote, Lee mentioned that previously month, he is met many individuals, together with members of the general public, and acquired tens of hundreds of messages and strategies.

They have “deepened my understanding of various problems our society is facing, and how people hope the government can do more,” he added.

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