YouTube removes future Hong Kong leader’s campaign channel


Google owned YouTube suspended on Wednesday a channel promoting Hong Kong official John Lee’s uncontested bid to be the city’s next leader, in compliance with sanctions against the former security chief.

Mr. Lee who is handpicked by Beijing is expected to be appointed the business hub’s new chief executive by a rubber stamp committee of 1,500 next month and has no rivals for the position.

But he has nonetheless worked to promote his uncontested campaign, running a promotional page on Facebook as well as YouTube.

Parent company Google defended the decision to remove his channel, saying the move was in compliance with US sanctions, which ban American companies and individuals from providing services to targeted officials.

“After review and consistent with these policies, we terminated the Johnlee2022 YouTube channel,” a company spokesperson said.

Tam Yiu-chung, a campaign director for Mr. Lee as well as Hong Kong’s sole representative to China’s top lawmaking body, confirmed receiving word from YouTube of the decision.

“They simply said we have violated their relevant policies,” Mr. Tam said. “We find this completely unreasonable.”

Mr. Tam said he regretted YouTube’s decision and insisted that Mr Lee’s bid to lead Hong Kong would not be affected.

“They cannot stop us from disseminating information of our campaign and our candidate to the public,” he said.

Mr. Lee was among 11 top Hong Kong and Beijing officials to be sanctioned by the US Treasury in 2020 in the wake of the central government’s imposition of a sweeping law aimed at snuffing out dissent in the financial hub.

Other officials sanctioned include outgoing Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, former police chiefs Chris Tang and Stephen Lo, as well as Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng. (Source: The Straits Times)