HONG KONG ( Associated Press) – Hong Kong’s next leader, John Lee, received an official letter of appointment from Beijing on Monday, a month before he was to take over the reins of leadership of the semi-autonomous city.
Li received the letter of appointment on Monday during a ceremony with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, during which Li congratulated him on his appointment as Hong Kong’s next chief executive.,
“The central government will, as always, fully and accurately implement the ‘one country, two systems’ framework as well as the principles and high degree of autonomy of the people of Hong Kong,” Li said on Monday. The framework under which Hong Kong is governed semi-autonomously and carries some liberties not found in mainland China.
Lee also expressed full support for Lee as the city’s next leader, and urged him to develop the economy as well as improve people’s livelihoods.
Li responded that he was honored to be the next leader and would “do everything he can” to live up to the expectations of the people of Beijing and Hong Kong.
“During this critical time, on the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, I deeply understand my great responsibility,” Li said, adding that he would lead the city “sincerely and firmly”.
Li, who went to Beijing on Saturday for a four-day visit, won an unopposed election earlier this month, receiving more than 99% of all votes cast by an election committee composed largely of pro-Beijing members.
Before winning the election, Lee was the city’s No. 2 official. He spent most of his civil service career in the police force and later in the security bureau.
Lee is known for his support of the city’s stringent national security law, which prevents subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign collusion to interfere in the affairs of the city. More than 150 people have been arrested under the law since it came into force in June 2020.
His visit to Beijing to get the appointment letter is regular. Current Chief Executive Carrie Lam made a similar visit to Beijing in 2017, when she was elected.
Li is expected to be sworn in as Hong Kong’s new chief executive on July 1, the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.