China's central govt approves resignation of John Lee who would run for HK Chief Executive
Published: Apr 08, 2022 01:12 PM
John Lee Ka-chiu. Photo: CFP

John Lee Ka-chiu. Photo: CFP

China's central government, the State Council, on the recommendation of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), decided on Thursday to remove John Lee Ka-chiu from the post of Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said on Friday.

Lee announced his resignation during a press conference on Wednesday, and said he would join the race in the upcoming Chief Executive election if the central government approves his resignation.

The Chief Executive election will be held on May 8. 

Lee thanked the Legislative Council members, government officials, and agencies and organizations with whom he worked with. He also thanked the people of Hong Kong and said he felt honored to have served the people for more than 40 years. 

He also thanked the civil servants who have worked with him over the years for their unremitting efforts and dedication.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the incumbent chief executive of the HKSAR, announced on Monday morning that she would not run for a second five-year term. 

Lee, 64, was appointed as chief secretary for administration of the HKSAR in June 2021, which is the No.2 position after the chief executive. In July 2021, Lee was appointed as chairman of the Candidate Eligibility Review Committee for local elections.

Lee started his career as a policeman. He joined the Hong Kong Police Force in 1977 and held a variety of posts before he was appointed as undersecretary for security in September 2012. He then served as secretary for security from 2017 to 2021.

Lee's appointment as chief secretary for administration came after the police force demonstrated professionalism and competence in the battle against a series of violent riots in Hong Kong in 2019, according to observers. 

In an exclusive interview with the Global Times in 2021, Lee said that a major priority of his work in overseeing the candidates qualification review will include making sure no one disguises themselves as a patriot to take part in the elections.

With the national security law for the special administrative region helping to stabilize Hong Kong society, Lee said that he would focus on clearing obstacles in local governance, while effectively implementing HKSAR government policies.

The Chief Executive election will be held on May 8. The candidates are permitted to conduct election-related public gatherings from April 23, in accordance with the conditions imposed to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. The upcoming election will be the third election since the electoral reform to ensure only patriots governing Hong Kong has been implemented, following the election for the 1,500-member Election Committee in September 2021 and the election for Legislative Council in December 2021. 

Some experts in both the mainland and Hong Kong consider the upcoming CE election as particularly crucial as the future leader is expected to accelerate the city's integration into the country's overall development plan, bringing the patriots together and advancing the reforms with courage and capability. 

"Following the leadership of the central government, the future governance in Hong Kong should not only safeguard the national security and security in Hong Kong, but also handle the livelihoods and economic issues well," Lau Siu-kai, deputy head of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Friday. 

"With the cooperation between the administration and the legislature, the future governance in Hong Kong will effectively curb the external hostile forces, making the Hong Kong society more stable," he said.