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Winning hearts and minds: mission impossible for Hong Kong’s new leader and his national security agenda?


Election campaigns and their enthusiasts everywhere are always full of extravagant promises and idealistic goals. Hong Kong is no exception — even under its new national security regime and the revamped election system designed to keep everyone but “safe” patriots out of the competition.

Under these circumstances, the much-repeated aim of “bringing us together” — against the backdrop of “national security” — might seem to the uninitiated like mission impossible. But these objectives headed the wish list for enthusiasts and well-wishers as soon as John Lee Ka-chiu  emerged in early April as the candidate-in-waiting for Hong Kong’s top job.

Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

His promoters naturally don’t admit as much, but the twin goals of civic unity and national
security will be achievable only via the same sleight-of-hand that is now making it possible for officials to claim nothing of any political significance has changed here since Beijing promulgated the National Security Law for Hong Kong on June 30, 2020.

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