This morning, the mainland Chinese government mandated the removal of Wang Zhimin from office. Mr. Zhimin had been working as the head of Beijing’s liaison office for the Hong Kong territory, formally the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong. All communications between Beijing and Hong Kong are conducted through this essential government body; thus, a forced change in leadership represents a dramatic political move on behalf of the Chinese government.
According to state owned news sources, Mr. Zhimin is to be replaced by Luo Huining, the former secretary of the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Protesters in Hong Kong have spoken out against Mr. Zhimin’s removal, claiming that the action represents the Chinese mainland government’s ongoing encroachment on the rights and semi-autonomy of Hong Kong. Critics see Mr. Huining as being propped-up by the Chinese mainland government in an effort to reduce the ability of Hong Kong to fight against the gradual degradation of the territory’s rights and separation from the Chinese authoritarian regime.