Chief executive-elect John Lee has said his 35 years of service in the city’s police force has allowed him to understand four points about governance. He was writing in the state-backed Wen Wei Po newspaper on Monday.

John Lee article Wenweipo
The chief executive-elect John Lee’s article is published on state-backed newspaper Wenweipo on Monday. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

Meanwhile, Lau Siu-kai, a pro-Beijing veteran, has said that – over the coming decade – Beijing will likely select administrators with experience in the disciplinary forces.

Lee wrote in his article that he had learnt about four main points of governance during his career as a police officer. They included the need to “rise to the challenge,” “value the results of execution,” “forge team spirit” and “be vigilant in peace time.”

The ex-security chief – who was the sole candidate in the city’s small-circle leadership race – said these ideas could “apply to different areas of governance to improve the administration’s efficiency, quality and standards.”

Lee added that he had served for nine years in the Security Bureau since 2012, during which “a series of actions repelling one country” emerged in Hong Kong society.

He listed the anti-national education movement in 2012, the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, the 2016 unrest in Mong Kok, the objections to the joint checkpoint plan at the West Kowloon rail terminus in 2017, as well as the anti-extradition protests and unrest in 2019 as examples.

CE election 2022 John Lee
Chief executive-elect John Lee. File photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

“These actions used the pretext of resistance or protest to obstruct the governance of Hong Kong’s administration and repel the mainland,” Lee wrote.

Lee – who will be inaugurated on July 1 – said Beijing’s implementation of the national security law and the revamped election system had “restored order.”

He added that the upcoming five years will be when the overhauled electoral system will be put in practice and “a key moment for Hong Kong people to work together and achieve a new height.”

In March, 2021, Beijing passed legislation to ensure “patriots” govern Hong Kong. The move reduced democratic representation in the legislature, tightened control of elections and introduced a pro-Beijing vetting panel to select candidates. The Hong Kong government said the overhaul would ensure the city’s stability and prosperity. But the changes also prompted international condemnation, as it makes it near-impossible for pro-democracy candidates to stand.

Security figures

Local media, including Now News, Ming Pao, and HK01, have cited sources saying that the former director of immigration Eric Chan will likely be appointed by Lee as the chief secretary of administration – the city’s number two position.

Lau Siu-kai, the vice president of the semi-official Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies, said during a Sunday TVB programme that the unrest in recent years had presented more opportunities for those with a disciplinary forces background to shine .

lau siu kai
Lau Siu-kai. File photo: Supplied.

According to Lau, the qualities of such people appreciated by Beijing include “their obedience of orders from above, courage to go forward, determination to accomplish missions, discipline, and a relatively fearless spirit when facing both internal and external hostile forces.”

In addition, Lau said it will be easier for local figures who are “courageous, responsible and loyal to the central government and the nation” to stand out over the next 10 years, as he expects Western countries will only step up their efforts to “suppress” China and Hong Kong throughout the decade.

The professor emeritus also said that, if the election system is to be changed in the future, the scope will be to “further strengthen the rule by patriots, broaden the representation of patriotic camps, as well as favour the executive leadership and national security,” as opposed to fundamental moves to introduce “Western democracy.”

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Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.