Wang Zhimin (L) had been director of the liaison office since 2017 (Photo/Reuters)
Wang Zhimin (L) had been director of the liaison office since 2017 (Photo/Reuters)

China sacks top Hong Kong envoy amid months-long protests

ANI | Updated: Jan 04, 2020 23:16 IST

Beijing [China], Jan 4 (ANI): China has replaced its top envoy to Hong Kong, state media reported on Saturday, in one of the most significant rejig since pro-democracy protests broke out in the city nearly seven months ago.
The removal of Wang Zhimin, the head of the liaison office, which represents the mainland government in Hong Kong, and his replacement by Luo Huining comes as the Asian financial hub continues to grapple with its biggest political crisis in decades, China's state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Communications between Beijing and Hong Kong are conducted through the liaison office.
Wang, the most senior mainland political official stationed in Hong Kong, had been the director of the government body since 2017.
The 62-year-old's dismissal makes him the shortest-serving liaison office director since 1997.
The new head, Huining, 65, was semi-retired after being removed from his position as the secretary of the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.
The move comes as protests roil Hong Kong in months-long show of anti-Beijing sentiment.
Beijing was reportedly considering potential replacements for Wang in a sign of dissatisfaction with the liaison office's handling of the crisis. The office has come in for criticism in Hong Kong and China for misjudging the situation in the city.
In December last year, following media reports that Beijing was considering replacing him, Wang vowed unwavering support to the city government and police force in a bid to quell the protests.
Since last June, millions have come out on the streets in often-violent demonstrations demanding greater democratic freedoms in Hong Kong, in the strongest challenge to Beijing's rule since the return of the former British colony to Chinese rule in 1997. (ANI)