Hong Kong chooses new Beijing-backed leader amid political tension

Doyle BarkerApr 03, 2017

Police cracked down on Hong Kong democracy activists Monday, charging them over the Umbrella Movement mass protests, a day after a pro-Beijing candidate was chosen as the city's new leader.

Carrie Lam, who won an election to become Hong Kong's first female chief executive is a former student activist who climbed the rungs of the civil service for over 36 years, and a tough, capable and possibly divisive Beijing-backed leader.

Representatives of a broad number of sectors, from business to education, sit on the 1,194-strong committee that chooses the chief executive, but the vast majority of the city's 3.8 million electorate have no say in the vote. "Even if Carrie is in the government, it's not her decision to charge or not to charge".

Law was already convicted past year with fellow student leaders Joshua Wong and Alex Chow for taking part in, or inciting others to take part in, an anti-China protest that led up to the major rallies.

She is not well regarded by the opposition democratic camp, with most of the 300 or so democrats seen as having voted for former Financial Secretary John Tsang.

As the election got under way Sunday, hundreds of protesters including leading pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong gathered near the harbor-front voting venue.

Growing up in a cramped apartment shared by four siblings and several families- Ms Lam went go on to study sociology at the University of Hong Kong- before taking part in social activism, and eventually politics.

The police notified them earlier in the day that they would be arrested and charged with committing a public nuisance, according to the Demosisto political party. We need your support to keep our talented reporters, editors and photographers holding government accountable, looking out for the public interest, and separating fact from fiction.

She joins a select group of female leaders who have risen to the top job in Asia in recent years including Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, hugely distrusted by China, and ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye, who angered Beijing with her plans to deploy a U.S. missile defense system to counter the threat from North Korea. Tsang, in contrast, is popular because of his easygoing persona and use of social media. He has been nicknamed "Pringles" or "Uncle Chips" in Cantonese for his signature mustache that draws comparisons to the snack food mascot. Retired Judge Woo Kwok-hing, the other candidate, had 21 votes.

As the next leader of the Asian financial center, Lam will inherit a city roiled by political divisions, including a burgeoning independence movement, and saddled with sluggish economic growth. "I think she will betray Hong Kong people".

"If that's the case, she might have a lot of debts that she has to repay to her supporters in Beijing". She lagged far behind Tsang in opinion polls. "My priority will be to heal the divide and to ease the frustration - and to unite our society to move forward", she said.

As a novice politician, Lam said she had learned to be humble from the campaign.

Speaking outside the police station Monday night, Chan said the prosecutions would not deter the fight for democracy.

The police announced that those involved in the 2014 movement would face charges just less than an hour after Mrs Lam met the city's incumbent leader Leung Chun-ying yesterday, calling for a "smooth and effective" transition of power.

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