China replaces its top official in protest-riven Hong Kong

China replaces its top official in protest-riven Hong Kong

China replaces its top official in protest-riven Hong Kong

China replaced its top official in Hong Kong Saturday following months of protests in the semi-autonomous territory, state media said.

"Luo has no relationship with the business community or political arena in Hong Kong", Zhao said.

Wang, who had been director of the liaison office is will be replaced by 65-year-old Luo Huining, according to the official website of China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. Xinhua did not give a reason for the change.

Some 40 parliamentarians and dignitaries from 18 countries sent an open letter to Ms Carrie Lam on New Year's Eve, urging her to "seek genuine ways forward out of this crisis by addressing the grievances of Hong Kong people". In Shanxi, he had been tasked with cleaning up a graft-ridden, coal-rich region where corruption was once likened to cancer.

Appointing an official with no Hong Kong-related experience to the liaison office shows the central government's determination to lead Hong Kong to a new chapter and restore peace in the city gripped by protests, Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan studies at Nankai University in Tianjin, told the state-run Global Times.

Tourist arrivals in Hong Kong plunged 55.9% year-on-year in November, the steepest fall since May 2003, when the city was hit by an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

The protest movement is supported by 59 percent of the city's residents polled in a survey conducted for Reuters by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute.

"Given his age it is possible he is only a stop-gap appointment", Ma said of Luo.

The protesters are demanding fully democratic elections for the city's leader and legislature and an investigation into police use of force to suppress the demonstrations.

"All the province's people have deeply felt that the all-out efforts to enforce party discipline have been like spring rain washing away the smog", Luo wrote.

The demonstrators in Sheung Shui vented their anger at so-called "parallel traders" from China who buy vast amounts of duty free goods in Hong Kong and take them back to the mainland to sell at a profit.

Lam's administration proposed a bill a year ago that would have allowed extraditions to China for the first time, prompting the protests.

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