Hong Kong Divided Over New Leader

The New York Times reports,

The political and business elite of Hong Kong elected a real estate surveyor with close ties to Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party on Sunday to become the territory’s next chief executive.

Crowds of pro-democracy protesters tried to march into the convention center where the voting was held; when the police stopped them, some charged the police lines and were turned back with pepper spray.

The victor, Leung Chun-ying, 57, won 689 of the 1,132 votes cast by members of the city’s Election Committee. He quickly tried to allay fears that he would restrict civil liberties in the former British colony or interrupt its gradual progress toward greater democracy.

At a news conference soon after winning a five-year term that will start on July 1, Mr. Leung said that freedom of the press and freedom of assembly were “core values” of Hong Kong and that he would protect them. He promised to focus on giving the people of Hong Kong better access to housing, education and medical care and added that “the freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong people will not change.”

But in a measure of the concern and even fear that Mr. Leung’s ascension to the job has generated, his election was immediately denounced by the pro-business Liberal Party, which has been a staunch ally of the local government and Beijing until now.

Keep politics on your radar.  Potential big leadership changes coming in China, France, and the United States, among others.

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