On May 20, Li Jiachao became the sixth Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to take office on July 1, 2022. Behind the success of his campaign are some interesting facts that have recently been revealed.
Fact number 1:
Li Jiachao spent $1.1 million on the election campaign in which he was the sole candidate
On Monday, Jul 4, according to official filings, Hong Kong’s new leader received $1.4 million in donations during his election campaign earlier this year. The money came from 59 pro-Beijing businesses and community groups. He spent a total of $1.1 million which was split between advertisements, gatherings, office rent, and transportation.
Li Jiachao, 64, served in the Hong Kong Police Force for 30 years before becoming the chief executive. He was chosen by an election committee staffed mostly by Beijing loyalists rather than the people. He got only 34.8 points out of 100 in a recent popularity survey.
The former security chief, widely seen as a hardliner and staunch Beijing loyalist, was sworn in as Hong Kong’s chief executive on Friday last week by Chinese President Xi Jinping on the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule.
Critics say Li Jiachao’s appointment is further evidence of how Hong Kong is being turned into a “police state”, and warn that political crackdowns will intensify under his watch.
Fact number 2:
Li Jiachao spent $1,800 to buy 3 banknote counters and a safe to collect cash donations.
Back in 2019, Li Jiachao, who was the Secretary for Security, violently suppressed Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters. The majority of them were behind bars pending trial, withdrawn from public life, or in self-imposed exile.
In August 2020, The U.S announced sanctions on 11 Chinese and Hong Kong officials who harmed Hong Kong’s autonomy. As such his assets in the States were frozen. Since he was unable to access bank services, all of his donations came in cash. With money flooded into the office of security hardliner despite a lack of any rivals to beat for the job of chief executive, he managed $1.4 million by banknote counters and a safe.
Previously, the former chief executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, also publicly complained that the U.S sanction prohibited her from opening a bank account. She has no choice but to use cash, and keep piles of cash at her house.