No surprises in Hong Kong as one-man election sees former security chief anointed leader

Was it an election or merely a selection? Asia Correspondent Debi Edwards reports on China's 'chosen one'

In Hong Kong’s leadership election there were never going to be any surprises. John Lee was the sole candidate in what should be more accurately described as a selection process.

The former police officer and security secretary is China’s chosen one. He was nominated by Beijing to be put before a committee of voters who had also been vetted and selected.

On the day, 1,416 voted for Mr Lee and eight voted against, a landslide victory if you will.

Kiku Ng - whose husband is a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist - said Hongkongers 'can't have choice' in their political system and 'just obey'

It is the first time in 20 years there has been just one person fielded for the top job, and this year, in such a charged political situation, the CV of the person cleared to run by the Chinese Communist Party spoke volumes of the direction in which he will be ordered to take the city.

It was John Lee who helped usher in the controversial National Security Law which was imposed by China to silence voices of dissent.

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Beijing designed the law, with intentionally vague parameters, to prevent any future protests on the scale Hong Kong witnessed in 2019 when millions took to the streets to demonstrate against an extradition bill.

That very bill now looks set to return to the voting chamber with the new chief executive’s support, and nobody to oppose. Most pro-democracy politicians and campaigners have been jailed, fled in self-imposed exile or been forced to disappear into the shadows.

More than 100,000 people have applied for a special visa to come to the UK.

Kiku Ng said she left Hong Kong to give her two young daughters a brighter future

We met Kiku Ng and her two daughters who arrived last year. She told us with the laws changing it was no longer a place she wanted to raise her children.

Already schools have been forced to adopt a similar patriotic syllabus to that used in mainland China.

Kiku said she wants a stable place for her girls, and for them to have choices in their lives.

Simon Cheng - who came to the UK as a political refugee - says he has 'no hope' for John Lee

One of those helping people to re-locate to the UK is Simon Cheng. He has had to leave his relatives behind, cutting ties for their own safety.

Simon was working at the British Consulate in 2019 during the protests when he was detained and interrogated by Chinese police. He describes being tortured and bound as he was asked about his work and the protest movement.

'Shackled, hooded, blindfolded': Simon Cheng claims he was tortured by the Chinese government

The appointment of John Lee has left him in no doubt that there will be further crackdowns in Hong Kong. He explained that the former law enforcement official is known for his "notoriously suppressive tactics."

We will never know what might have happened if the people of Hong Kong were allowed to vote in this leadership election.

John Lee has a mandate which is likely to give them even less of a say and China more control.