OPINION – From John Lee’s Beijing visit to the selection of principal officials

The visit of Hong Kong Chief Executive-designate John Lee to Beijing on May 30 and his selection of principal officials for the new government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) starting from July 1 have significant implications for Beijing-Hong Kong relations.

On May 30, John Lee met President Xi Jinping in Beijing. President Xi affirmed that Lee “has a firm position on loving the nation and Hong Kong,” that he is “active and willing to shoulder the responsibility,” and that he “contributes to the protection of national security and Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.” As such, the central government “fully affirms” Lee’s work and “fully trusts” him.

President Xi remarked that the new electoral system allows Hong Kong to implement the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong,” to protect citizens to have the right of being the “masters,” and to promote each social stratum and sector to play a “decisive role” in building up Hong Kong. Therefore, the “democratic system” in Hong Kong should be cherished and persisted in the long run, for it is suitable for Hong Kong’s circumstances and developmental needs. Xi added that the center “comprehensively” and “unwaveringly” implements the principle of “one country, two systems.”

Most importantly, President Xi commented that Hong Kong has already realized the important transition from “chaos to governance,” and that the HKSAR is now “at a crucial juncture from governance to emergence.” Hence, the President believes that the new HKSAR government will mark a “new chapter” in the city’s development.

President Xi’s significant remarks showed that John Lee is fully appraised and trusted by the central leadership for his contributions to the protection of national security. Implicitly, Article 23 of the Basic Law must be legislated locally soon, while a new Internet Security Law will be prepared and enacted to work alongside with the national security law to protect Beijing’s national security in the HKSAR.

After the promulgation and implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong since late June…