HK enters authoritarian rule with Lee: forum

Under ‘Chinese extremist’ John Lee, Taiwan should rely more on non-governmental organizations for trade, researcher says

  • By Chen Yu-fu and William Hetherington / Journalist, with editor

With the election of John Lee (李家超) as chief executive of Hong Kong, the territory has entered a period of authoritarian rule, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) official said yesterday.

With the arrival of “China’s hard line” on July 1, Hong Kong has become “more like Macau” and will become like mainland China, said Wu Jun-zhi (吳峻鋕), director of the DPP’s China affairs department. , at a conference organized by the Friends of Hong Kong and Macau Association in Taipei.

Wu quoted Lee as saying his appointment as chief executive was necessary due to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s (林鄭月娥) failure to enact extradition law and curb the spread of the virus. COVID-19.

Photo: ANC

“State media in China hails changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system and its crackdown on protests as an achievement of [Chinese President] Xi Jinping (習近平),” Wu said.

“Headlines say Hong Kong is now ‘ruled by patriots’ and celebrate the territory’s transition from ‘chaos to governance,'” Wu said.

With Hong Kong’s government firmly under Beijing’s control, Taiwan’s relationship with the territory would face challenges, he said.

Hong Kong has no tolerance for pro-democracy voices such as Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) and former media mogul Jimmy Lai (黎智英), he said, adding that they were viewed by Beijing as being “under the influence of foreign forces”.

The Mainland Affairs Council said Taiwan-Hong Kong relations will continue to be based on the principle of reciprocity and focus on the interests of people across the Taiwan Strait, while promoting exchanges in various fields.

Wu said under Lee, Hong Kong would prioritize adhering to Xi’s concept of a “rejuvenation of the Chinese people” and the territory’s economy would be integrated with that of neighboring Guangdong province.

Lee, who holds 99.16% of the vote, is a testament to the authoritarian environment in Hong Kong, and the election was “considered by some to be humiliating” for the territory, said Fan Shih-ping (范世平), professor of political science at National Taiwan Normal University.

Beijing has been nursing Lee since the administration of former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying (梁振英), he said.

Under Lee, Hong Kong is expected to experience lower economic growth and see foreign capital flight, which would benefit Taiwan, he said.

“Since serving as Hong Kong’s security secretary, Lee has done everything in his power to suppress human rights in Hong Kong,” Fan said. “As managing director, he will certainly do even more to get people arrested.”

Bonnie Liao (廖雨詩), a researcher at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies, said it remained to be seen whether Beijing would allow Taiwan to pursue the same kind of relationship with Hong Kong.

Taiwan shares a unique relationship with Hong Kong, but it is subject to change, she said, adding that Taiwan should continue to rely on non-governmental organizations for various exchanges.

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Melvin B. Baillie