Establishment Leader Rises to Hong Kong Leadership Amid Protests

Beijing-backed Carrie Lam has risen to Hong Kong’s top position at its Chief Executive, much to the rage of pro-democracy activists. Just after her victory was announced on Sunday, protests broke out throughout the city and some protesters even broke through police and tried to enter the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition where voting took place.

HFKP reports that many activists received calls telling them they would be arrested for “public nuisance,” a charge that can carry a penalty of seven years in prison.

Lam is seen as a loyalist to Beijing. During the 2014 Occupy protests, she appeared on TV urging people to disperse or face arrest. The people were demanding the right to elect their own leaders and the abolition of the current system in which leaders are selected by a small committee comprised largely of business interests and those loyal to Beijing.

This is one of several perceived rights violations that have become byproducts of the “One Country, two state” system which Hong Kong is governed under.

“This is just a selection made by Xi Jinping’s government,” said Joshua Wong, the figurehead of the Occupy movement. “It’s an anti democracy election system. This is why we have to keep engaging in civil disobedience.”

Nonetheless, Lam has pledged to bring an end to the chaos that has rocked Hong Kong’s streets and to unite the city by reaching out to the public and members of all parties.

“Hong Kong, our home, is suffering from quite a serious divisiveness and has accumulated a lot of frustration,” she said, according to SCMP. “My priority will be to heal the divide and to ease the frustration — and to unite our society to move forward.”

Her biggest opponent was John Tsang who recently made a transition from establishment figure to populist. After a heartfelt speech, he said he “fought the good fight.”

About Andrew Burke 145 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Burke is a lifelong aficionado of all things Chinese. He studied Mandarin while living in Taiwan for six years and now works as a digitization specialist at the Yenching Library, which specializes in Asian books and documents, at Harvard University where he also studies topics related to China, Chinese, Asia and foreign affairs.