HK govt's chief secretary John Lee will lead vetting committee to screen candidacy for local elections
Published: Jul 06, 2021 10:52 AM
File photo: CFP

John Lee Ka-chiu Photo: CFP

John Lee Ka-chiu, chief secretary for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, was appointed as the chairman of the candidate qualification review committee for local elections. The committee is composed of six other members, among them three are government officials, the government’s chief executive Carrie Lam announced on Tuesday. 

Hong Kong's Secretary of Security Chris Tang, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang as well as Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui Ying-wai are the members of the committee, Lam told a press conference. Other non-government officials are Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, former president of the Legislative Council, Elsie Leung Oi-sie, former vice-chairwoman of the Basic Law Committee and a local professor Lawrence Lau Juen-yee. 

The candidate qualification review committee of the HKSAR is set up to vet and confirm the qualifications of candidates for the Election Committee members, the Chief Executive and the LegCo members, according to a decision on improving Hong Kong's electoral system overwhelmingly adopted by National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature, on March 11. 

Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times that the candidate qualification review committee should be led by high-level government officials, including the office for safeguarding national security of the central government in Hong Kong. He added that the review should follow detailed principles and procedures in conducting political scrutiny of candidates.

Lee, who has a background in police and security organs, was appointed by the State Council on June 25 as the new Chief Secretary for Administration.  Some experts also noted that the nomination came after the police forces demonstrated greater loyalty than some other civil servants in the battle against riots in 2019. It also showed that the officials that have been chosen are "determined patriots" and firmly support the rule of law.

The committee aims to ensure candidates meet the principle of "patriots governing Hong Kong," a fundamental baseline set by top Chinese officials on Hong Kong affairs.

Before making a decision, the new committee will receive advice from police’s national security unit and the committee for safeguarding national security of Hong Kong led by the chief executive and supervised by Beijing, according to the South China Morning Post. But the vetting committee’s decision cannot be judicially challenged.