Hong Kong’s subsequent chief John Lee is inheriting a when lively Asian business hub mired in its third 12 months of pandemic isolation but he may possibly prioritise safety more than an economic reboot, company leaders and observers say.
Lee, a former security chief, is envisioned to be verified Hong Kong’s future chief executive on Sunday by a committee of 1,463 elites soon after working uncontested with Beijing’s blessing.
He has promised a “success-oriented” govt and a new chapter for the southern Chinese city — while his manifesto declared several important policy shifts.
Organization leaders have expressed concern over Lee’s lack of details on how he could kickstart the city’s fortunes, like going past Chinese-design and style travel curbs that have still left the city reduce off and sparked an exodus of talent.
“In purchase to reboot Hong Kong’s popularity as a business enterprise hub, we will need a Covid exit strategy,” Kristian Odebjer, head of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, informed AFP.
Tara Joseph, previous head of the city’s American Chamber of Commerce, said travel connectivity was a important initial stage for Hong Kong to get back its worldwide stature soon after “so a lot track record injury”.
But Lee appeared to brush apart those people worries past 7 days, stating that he will rather prioritise reopening the border with mainland China — signalling any quick policy U-convert is unlikely.
– ‘Stuck in the middle’ –
Lawmaker and businessman Michael Tien explained the coronavirus has trapped Hong Kong’s chief in between a rock and a difficult location, no subject who fills that seat.
“Our region is heading for zero-Covid when the rest of the entire world is dwelling with the virus,” Tien instructed AFP.
“Hong Kong is trapped in the center.”
The city was slammed by an Omicron-fuelled outbreak which killed extra than 9,000 people today and contributed to a 4 p.c drop in economic output for the initial quarter.
Siddharth Sridhar, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, explained Hong Kong was taking pleasure in a “grace interval concerning waves” and that Lee must squander no time in obtaining the elderly vaccinated.
In latest weeks outgoing chief Carrie Lam has eased some pandemic limitations, like lessening quarantine to seven times and permitting non-residents in for the initially time in some two years.
Last week Lee told reporters he would continue “a fantastic balancing act” between maintaining the virus out and the financial system afloat.
His 44-web site manifesto did not specifically tackle the coronavirus, apart from vowing to understand from the pandemic and established up a new crisis procedure to deal with upcoming threats.
– Security track record –
Lee expended some 4 decades within Hong Kong’s protection companies, prompting queries above his business acumen in a town that markets by itself as the financial gateway involving China and the planet.
“The selection of John Lee illustrates Beijing’s priorities of protection and control in Hong Kong,” previous US chamber head Joseph said.
“He will be the very first HK chief with no company qualifications.”
Lawmaker Tien reported Lee would be receptive to outside viewpoints — a compliment echoed by several of Lee’s supporters.
“Lee won’t hear in matters of stability, but in other regions he has no choice, he have to pay attention and consider viewpoints,” Tien reported.
Talking about his personal governance type, Lee mentioned he was a pragmatist eager to streamline strategies for larger efficiency.
Pro-Beijing organization mogul Allan Zeman, who praised Lee’s plan strategies, claimed “(Lee) came from the police and law enforcement utilized to make factors happen”.
– Democrats shut out –
Lee was among the 11 major Hong Kong and Beijing officers sanctioned by the US Treasury in 2020 in the wake of China’s imposition of a sweeping protection legislation aimed at snuffing out dissent.
Final thirty day period, YouTube suspended Lee’s marketing campaign channel citing the have to have to comply with sanctions.
Lee has defended his job in crushing the 2019 democracy protests and not long ago explained his authorities will prioritise livelihood concerns about democratisation.
He has offered himself as a no-nonsense leader who can get points completed and slash via red tape.
Kenneth Chan, a political scientist from Baptist College, warned that fashion could guide to even fewer community say and participation in how the metropolis is governed.
Lee has also shown little urge for food so significantly in achieving throughout political traces to mend social divisions.
“He is decided… to shut out democrats, to place force on civil culture and to in essence destroy the entire problem of democratic reform in the coming five several years,” Chan explained.
“This is going to be a doorway shut very tightly.”