China Replaces Its Top Hong Kong Official With An ‘Enforcer’

Anthony KwanGetty Images

Protestors in Hong Kong are bracing for trouble after China replaced its top official in Hong Kong with someone The New York Times deemed an “enforcer.” The previous top representative, Wang Zhimin, served as the head of the Central Liaison Office since 2017 and is the first official to have lost his job over increasing instability in the region.

Mr. Wang oversaw nearly seven months of protests against Beijing in response to a new law forcing extradition to the mainland. Though China had publicly supported Mr. Wang through the protests, the rumor is that he received a lot of internal criticism.

A particular critique was that Mr. Wang did not postpone a series of elections in November — having faith that pro-Beijing candidates would prevail at the polls. The opposite was true, and anti-Beijing candidates won a staggering 87 percent of seats.

“The massive defeat of the pro-establishment camp at the district council elections sealed his fate, but I think even before then, they had decided to remove him because he repeatedly failed to predict the mood of the city,” said Willy Lam, a specialist in Chinese factional politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

It is believed that Mr. Wang will be given a “dignified” exit, per Politico, and will be recalled to mainland China and given a new unrelated post — even though his specialty was Hong Kong.

In contrast, Mr. Wang’s replacement, Luo Huining, seems to have little particular experience with Hong Kong. Called an “enforcer” by The New York Times, he is what many are calling an unexpected choice as a replacement.

Mr. Luo had previously served as the top official in two provinces of China — but he earned his mane through governing through times of upheaval. For example, one of the provinces he oversaw was the Qinghai Province in western China, one of the poorest regions in the country and filled with a high number of minorities. He managed to help navigate politics when Beijing began implementing “stringent policies” against a large Tibetan minority.

hong kong protests
Featured image credit: Anthony KwanGetty Images

Many party officials are hoping that Luo will be more of a hardliner in Hong Kong due to his lack of ties to the area.

“One key consideration is that Luo does not have connections with Hong Kong’s business and other community, therefore his work will not be complicated by any relationship,” the source told Politico.

“His past experiences showed that he is capable of providing out-of-box solutions,” the insider added.

Meanwhile, protests continue in Hong Kong, despite lasting months. In fact, the conflict has become so fraught that pro-Beijing forces are reportedly threatening to use real ammo on the protestors, as previously reported by The Inquisitr.