CHINA / POLITICS
HK’s reshuffle of senior officials highlights national security still the key task
Published: Jun 25, 2021 11:18 AM Updated: Jun 25, 2021 12:38 PM
(From left) Police Commissioner Raymond Siu, Chief Secretary for Administration John Lee, Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Secretary of Security Chris Tang Photo: cnsphoto

(From left) Police Commissioner Raymond Siu, Chief Secretary for Administration John Lee, Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Secretary of Security Chris Tang Photo: cnsphoto


 
China's State Council promoted Hong Kong security chief John Lee to new Chief Secretary for Administration and Chris Tang Ping-keung, current Commissioner of Police, was appointed as new Secretary of Security.

Xinhua News Agency said Friday Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Carrie Lam recommended the appointments.

Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, chief secretary since 2017, is stepping down after four years in the post. 

Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Friday that the central government still puts national security and stability in Hong Kong as the key work, and the Chief Secretary for Administration needs to coordinate different departments on that. Some departments in the past few years failed to cooperate with police forces in safeguarding national security and social stability in Hong Kong, Lau said.

Lau also pointed out the appointments show that the continuity in backbone departments supporting national security and social stability in Hong Kong will not be affected by the upcoming local elections.

Both Lee and Tang have a background in police and security organs. The latter was appointed Commissioner of Police of the HKSAR in November 2019, replacing Lo Wai-chung.

The two were among the first batch of Hong Kong officials sanctioned by the US government based on an executive order in August 2020.

Lawrence Tang Fei, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Friday that police forces demonstrated greater loyalty than some other civil servants in the battle against riots in 2019. 

Senior police officers also have more opportunities to get trained in the mainland and overseas than officers of other departments, helping them to understand China's development and gain an international vision, Tang Fei said. 

Lam on Friday told reporters that the SAR government is a meritocratic system and Lee's security background will not affect the role of chief secretary — assisting the chief executive and supporting economic, people's well-being and anti-epidemic policies. 

"The background of officials will not change the nature of Hong Kong as a society ruled by law and a free economy," Lam said. 

Lee and Tang were seen as "hardliners" against rioters and law and order enforcers by many Hong Kong watchers. 

Tian Feilong, an associate professor at Beihang University's law faculty and a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times that the changes showed that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is choosing officials who are "determined patriots" and firmly support the rule of law. 

Firmly holding the principle of "patriots governing Hong Kong" should be a criterion in choosing officials to turn a new page in local governance with people capable and patriotic (in positions), Tian said.
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