Chinese President Xi Jinping swore in John Lee, marking a new era of antidemocratic governance in Hong Kong.
Chinese President Xi Jinping swore in John Lee as Hong Kong’s new chief executive on July 1, marking a new era of antidemocratic governance in the city once known as China’s economic gateway to the West.
July 1 was also the 25th anniversary of the United Kingdom’s agreement to returnHong Kong to China in 1997. That agreement promised a “one country, two systems” governing principle until 2047 — the idea being that although the city would belong to Beijing, Hong Kongers would continue to enjoy a high degree of autonomy relative to mainland citizens, including a freer press, an independent judiciary, and its own local government. However, under Xi’s leadership, China has repeatedly insisted that the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the agreement governing the handover and protecting Hong Kong’s autonomy and civil liberties, is no longer relevant, meaning they think Beijing has every right to assert its authority there.