The former security chief who oversaw the

crackdown on

Hong Kong

's pro - democracy movement

,

John Lee

, was appointed the city's new leader by a small committee of

Beijing

loyalists on Sunday .

John Lee

, 64, was the only candidate to succeed

Carrie Lam

, the outgoing chief executive of the city, a business hub.

His appointment marks the first time a security official has taken over the leadership of the

Hong Kong

government and comes after tumultuous years of a crackdown on the pro-democracy movement and debilitating pandemic controls.

Lee

got 1,416 votes from the committee made up of 1,461 people, equivalent to 0.02% of the population of 7.4 million people.

The remaining members did not cast votes.

"I declare that the sole candidate

John Lee Ka-chiu

was chosen in the aforementioned election. Congratulations," Judge

Kieth Yeung Kar-hung

announced after the vote , announcing the result.

The committee, made up of

political and business elites

loyal to Beijing, held the vote on Sunday morning.

Protests have been banned in

Hong Kong

and authorities have used a health ban against gatherings of more than four people, as well as a new security law, to prevent them.

Local media reported that the police deployed between 6,000 and 7,000 agents to guarantee security during the process.

The

League of Social Democrats

, one of the few remaining pro-democracy groups, staged a three-person protest before the election opened, chanting "power to the people, universal suffrage now."

security law

Under President

Xi Jinping

, China has sought to mold

Hong Kong

in its own authoritarian image, after the large and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests of 2019.

Beijing

has imposed a sweeping

security law

aimed at stamping out dissent, along with a "patriots only" political system to ensure that only people loyal to

China

hold top public office.

Insiders say Lee's unwavering commitment to that line enabled him to win China's trust, at a time when other

Hong Kong

figures were seen as insufficiently loyal or competent.

"He is a man who has passed the test," Lai Tung-kwok, a former security minister, recently declared.

Lee

, who spent 35 years in the

Hong Kong

police force before joining the government, inherits a troubled city.

The pro-democracy movement has been crushed by the security law, while much of the population resents Beijing's rule and complains about entrenched inequality in the city.

Hong Kong is

also facing economic hardship from two years of tight pandemic restrictions that have left it isolated while the rest of the world reopens.

Under the slogan "Starting a new chapter for

Hong Kong

together ,"

Lee

has promised a government focused on results, forging unity and restarting the local economy.

A 44-page manifesto released last week outlined some general goals with few concrete political targets.

Lee will take office on July 1, the 25th anniversary of

Britain 's handover of

Hong Kong to China.

China

agreed to let

Hong Kong

retain some freedoms and autonomy for 50 years after the handover, under the "one country, two systems" principle.

Beijing

and

Lee

say that this principle remains intact, although their critics and Western powers say that it has already been destroyed.

Lee is one of 11 senior Hong Kong and Beijing officials sanctioned by the United States for political repression.

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