Today morning, the chief executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam announced that she would not seek a second term. This announcement comes at a time when the erstwhile British colony has been witnessing a significant surge in COVID-19. Hong Kong has one of the highest virus death rates on the globe.
Lam was Beijing's handpicked choice for entering the office back in 2017. During her term, Beijing's influence on Hong Kong became more pronounced after the widespread protests in 2019 against a controversial extradition bill.
“It is my personal wish and aspiration and it is entirely based on my family consideration,” she said today in a news conference.
"There's only one consideration and that is family. I have told everyone before that family is my first priority in terms of my consideration", she emphasised again.
"They think it's time for me to go home," she added. She has already 'informed' Beijing of 'her decision'.
In recent days, Lam has been criticised by Hong Kong residents and by Pro-Beijing lawmakers as well. The widespread sentiment is that she mishandled the 5th COVID-19 outbreak that Hong Kong suffered.
The bane of indecision infected Hong Kong's response to the 5th outbreak. Officials vacillated between city wide lockdown and a more muted measure. The uncertainty led to panic buying in many parts of Hong Kong.
Lam's mishandling of the outbreak raised concerns in Beijing. As cases kept increasing in February, Beijing intervened and sent epidemiologists, technicians and health workers.
Lam's inability to handle the crisis also led to warnings from Xi Jingping.
Hong Kong's former Chief Secretary John Lee might be the replacement for Ms Lam. Lee was a prominent security official during the 2019 protests. This might be an indication that Beijing intends to transform Hong Kong into more of a police state.
The new chief executive of Hong Kong will be selected next month. A committee of 1,500 members is responsible for this task. Nearly all of the committee's members are pro-Beijing loyalists.
Ms Lam will be hanging her boots with a tarred legacy. Under her tenure, after the 2019 mass protests, Beijing imposed a number of policies to tighten its control over Hong Kong. The one that drew the most attention was a national security law. This law diluted Hong Kong's autonomy and criminalised most forms of political protests.
After this law came into effect, US imposed sanctions on Lam and 10 other Hong Kong officials.
Another major move that will mark her legacy is the 'reformation' of city's election committee. This 'reformation' ensured that Beijing loyalists have more power in the committee.
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