John Lee was elected as the sixth-term chief executive designate of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region yesterday.

The 64-year-old former chief secretary for administration of Hong Kong won 1,416 votes by Election Committee members in the first chief executive election in the city since the improvement to its electoral system last year.

“I will faithfully and resolutely undertake this historic mission and shoulder the great responsibility to unite and lead the 7.4-million Hong Kong residents to open a new chapter for Hong Kong,” Lee told a press conference after the election.

Born in December 1957 in a working-class family in Hong Kong, Lee’s origin can be traced back to Panyu, now a district in Guangzhou City.

After graduating with top grades from secondary school Wah Yan College in Kowloon, Lee joined the Hong Kong police force as a probationary inspector in 1977.

During his over-30-year career in the Hong Kong police force, Lee held various posts, including chief superintendent, assistant commissioner, senior assistant commissioner and deputy commissioner of police. On his watch, the city’s police force busted a number of high-profile cases.

In September 2012, Lee was appointed undersecretary for security of Hong Kong, concluding his career in the city’s police force. He became secretary for security of Hong Kong in July 2017 and chief secretary for administration in June 2021.

Lee loves music. He married Janet Lam in 1980. They have two sons.

Lee still awaits the appointment by the central government before being sworn in as Hong Kong’s chief executive on July 1, also the 25th anniversary of the city’s return to the motherland.

Polling for the election ran from 9am to 11:30am yesterday. Members of the Election Committee cast their secret ballots on a one-person-one-vote basis at the main polling station at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.

Smooth running of the election marked the further implementation of the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong,” said Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

In 2021, Hong Kong made systematic amendments and improvements to its electoral system, and successfully held elections of the Election Committee and the seventh-term Legislative Council of the city, a solid step forward promoting the development of democracy in line with the reality of Hong Kong.

Under Hong Kong’s amended electoral laws, the expanded Election Committee comprises 1,500 members from five sectors, and candidates for the office of the chief executive shall be nominated jointly by not less than 188 members of the Election Committee, among whom the number of members of each sector should not be less than 15.

Tam said such stipulations ensure that the Election Committee is widely representative and the result of the chief executive poll is sound under the improved electoral system.

Lau Siu-kai, vice president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said the Election Committee fully represents the interests of the growing patriotic forces of different sectors and groups.

The sixth-term chief executive election has further enhanced the unity of the patriotic forces and the implementation of the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong,” Lau pointed out.

Tse Hiu-hung, a member of the Election Committee, said it is the committee’s responsibility to elect a chief executive who can fully and accurately implement “one country, two systems” and lead Hong Kong toward better development.

New chapter

Announcing his decision to run for the election a month ago, Lee said that if he won, his administration will work on three goals: first, to address different issues with a result-oriented approach; second, to enhance Hong Kong’s overall competitiveness; and third, to lay a solid foundation for Hong Kong’s development.

Lee said that he wishes to lead Hong Kong in opening a new chapter, which is from order to prosperity in the next five years.

His manifesto contained four tenets of vision: to strengthen governance capability and tackle pressing livelihood issues; to streamline procedures and provide more housing and better living; to enhance overall competitiveness and pursue sustainable development; and to build a caring and inclusive society and enhance upward mobility for youths.

Joseph Chan, of the Election Committee, said Lee has made clear and unambiguous proposals on strengthening patriotic education for youths in Hong Kong, promoting better integration of Hong Kong youths into the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, and initiating targeted measures to solve housing problems.

Chan, who is also president of the Hong Kong Youth Association, added that Lee’s proposed policies will allow more Hong Kong youths to live a peaceful and prosperous life.

Zhi Zhenfeng, a researcher with the Institute of Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, noted that Lee’s election manifesto further expands the space for Hong Kong’s development and provides a path for Hong Kong to maintain and enhance its international competitiveness.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland. The governing team of the new term shoulders responsibilities in ensuring the implementation of “one country, two systems” without being bent or distorted.

In the eyes of Chan Yuet-lan, a local resident, Hong Kong has seen a lot of ups and downs in the past two years. “Only when the social environment is stable and harmonious can our families be happy and healthy,” she said.

Amid the increasingly complicated international environment, Hong Kong faces multiple security threats. It has always been the primary duty of those administering Hong Kong to do everything possible to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests as well as Hong Kong’s interests, according to Zhang Jian, director of the Shanghai Institute of International Studies’ Hong Kong and Macau research section.

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