China replaced its top representative in Hong Kong on Saturday in a major reshuffle for the semi-autonomous Chinese city following six months of political unrest.
Luo Huining, the former Communist Party Secretary of Shanxi Province, will replace the outgoing Wang Zhimin as the head of the Hong Kong Liaison Office, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
Luo was also made deputy head of the National People’s Congress Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, according to Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK.
Wang held his position as head of the Hong Kong Liaison Office for slightly more than two years.
His removal follows the worst period of political turmoil for Hong Kong since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Beijing’s Liaison Office has been the scene of a range of anti-government protests, as both a destination for mass peaceful marches and a target for anti-government graffiti and vandalism by radical young demonstrators.
Beijing officials are widely believed to have underestimated the anger of ordinary Hong Kongers at the city’s semi-democratic government as well as their frustration with what they see as creeping encroachment by Beijing in domestic affairs.
While Wang has been removed from office, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has declined to resign even after months of protest calling for her removal from office.
Hong Kong was promised semi-autonomy by Beijing until 2047 under the “one country, two systems” agreement with Britain but many residents believe its period of semi-autonomy has already come to an end. (dpa/NAN)