Activists Fear Arrest After New Hong Kong Leader Picked

Committee choose pro-Beijing candidate Carrie Lam
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2017 12:33 AM CDT
Hong Kong's Chief Executive elect Carrie Lam speaks after meeting with current chief executive Leung Chun-ying at government headquarters in Hong Kong, Monday, March 27, 2017.   (Vincent Yu)
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(Newser) – Hong Kong activists say police are planning to arrest student leaders and other prominent figures involved with the huge 2014 "Umbrella Movement" pro-democracy protests. The Demosisto political party said Monday that police want to charge nine people with committing a public nuisance. The crackdown, which comes more than two years after the end of the massive protests, could reignite political tensions as Hong Kong prepares for a leadership transfer, the AP reports. Carrie Lam, the candidate favored by China's Communist leadership, was chosen as Hong Kong's new leader on Sunday in the first such vote since the 2014 unrest, when protesters called for genuine democracy.

A committee dominated by pro-Beijing elites selected Lam, Hong Kong's former No. 2 official, as the financial hub's chief executive even though she was far less popular than her main rival. Lam, who promised to mend political divisions, received 777, or 67%, of the votes cast by the 1,194-member committee. Pro-Beijing and pro-democracy groups held competing rallies outside the election venue. Lam is unpopular with Hong Kongers because she's seen as a proxy for Beijing and out of touch with ordinary people. Her main rival was former finance chief John Tsang, who is highly popular because of his easygoing persona and deft use of social media to connect with residents—but who didn't have Beijing's support. (Read more Hong Kong stories.)

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