Civil servant Carrie Lam on Sunday became Hong Kong’s new leader and first female chief executive after defeating former financial secretary John Tsang by a vote of 777-365. The 7.3 million people living in Hong Kong could not participate in the election. Instead, the new leader was chosen by a 1,200 person election committee. Lam is considered a controversial pick, with Tsang being preferred by more Hong Kong citizens and Lam being backed by Beijing [Reuters news report]. China has promised Hong Kong autonomy to govern on local issues, and the election of Lam is seen by some as China’s attempt to keep de facto control of Hong Kong [BBC news report]. Lam served for five years as the deputy of former leader CY Leung, who was unpopular because of his policies and close ties to China. Critics have accused Lam of being a “CY 2.0”, expecting her to follow in Leung’s footsteps. The election of Lam could spark further protests calling for democracy in Hong Kong or even a split from China [Al Jazeera news report]. Lam is currently scheduled to take office on July 1
Hong Kong has recently faced political conflict and civil unrest. In February a Hong Kong Court sentenced [JURIST report] Donald Tsang, the former Chief Executive of Hong Kong from 2005 to 2012, to 20 months in prison for his failure to disclose personal conflicts of interest when his cabinet was considering a broadcasting license application. In January 5,000 people protested in Hong Kong [JURIST report] because elected lawmakers were barred from taking office in 2016 after altering the words in their official oaths. In October 2016 these politicians was barred from taking office [JURIST report] when they pledged their allegiance to Hong Kong istead of China during their inaugural oaths.