Hong Kong top job candidate calls US bully over YouTube campaign ban

Hong Kong, Apr 20 (EFE).- John Lee, Hong Kong’s sole candidate in next month’s chief executive election, called the United States government a bully Wednesday after YouTube unexpectedly took down his campaign channel due to US sanctions on him.

Lee, sanctioned by the American government for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy made the remarks Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the US online video-sharing platform took the unusual move to terminate the channel he had been using to support his bid for the city’s top job.

“The US government’s unreasonable, so called sanctions on me for my work to defend national security is a form of bullying. Government officials in any country should do their best to safeguard their own country’s national security. I believe… (the US) also demand the same of their officials,” Lee said.

The former No. 2 official of Hong Kong also said sanctions, which “are meant to put pressure on me.” only served to “reinforce my belief that what I am doing is right.”

According to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, YouTube, operated by Google, closed Lee’s channel to comply with US sanctions placed on him.

All content on the channel is now gone. When clicked, it displays a message saying: “The video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been closed.”

Nonetheless, Lee’s Facebook campaign is still running. Lee said while YouTube’s move was “disappointing,” his campaign would not be affected.

Over the past two years, Lee, in his former position as security minister, had played a key role in implementing a harsh national security law imposed by Beijing in June 2020 to crack down on an unprecedented anti-government protest movement and the city’s opposition.

In August 2020, Lee, 64, became one of the 11 Hong Kong and mainland Chinese officials sanctioned by US President Donald Trump’s administration for “undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and restricting the freedom of expression or assembly.”

He resigned on Apr. 6 from his last official position as chief secretary for administration to run in the chief executive election on May 8. Widely viewed as a Beijing loyalist, he is the only candidate.

To be the sixth Hong Kong top leader under Chinese rule, Lee has to win at least 751 votes from an election committee consisting of 1,462 members, all of whom have been vetted for their political loyalty to Beijing. EFE


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