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Beijing's Pick Lam Chosen as Hong Kong Leader, in No Surprise

The committee that picked her is dominated by pro-Beijing elites. Criticism of the system was at the root of huge protests in 2014.
Hong Kong's new chief executive Carrie Lam, center, holds bouquets as she stands on stage after winning the Hong Kong chief executive election in Hong Kong on March 26, 2017.ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP - Getty Images

HONG KONG — A Hong Kong committee has chosen the government's former No. 2 official Carrie Lam to be the semiautonomous Chinese city's next leader.

The 1,194-member election committee picked Lam to be Hong Kong's new chief executive on Sunday. She will be the first female leader for the city and its fourth since British colonial control ended.

Her victory was no surprise because China's communist leadership had lobbied the committee, dominated by pro-Beijing elites, to support her.

Pro-democracy activists have criticized the system as a "fake" election and it was at the root of huge protests in 2014.

Lam won with 777 votes while her closest rival, former financial secretary John Tsang, got 365 votes. Retired judge Woo Kwok-hing had 21 votes.

Tsang was much more popular locally, but neither he nor Woo had Beijing's backing.

Carrie Lam waves after she won the election for Hong Kong's next Chief Executive as other candidates John Tsang and Woo Kwok-hing stand next to her in Hong Kong, China March 26, 2017.BOBBY YIP / Reuters