YouTube has removed the campaign account of John Lee, the sole candidate for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive position. Google said the account was terminated in compliance with US sanctions.
“Google complies with applicable US sanctions laws and enforces related policies under its Terms of Service,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement. After the company reviewed the policies, it “terminated the Johnlee2022” channel.
The sanctions were imposed in August 2020 because of Lee’s role in crushing the pro-democracy protests in the city in 2019. Lee, a former police officer, is currently the city’s chief secretary, the second-highest position in the city.
The sanctions were also imposed on the current chief executive Carrie Lam, and other top officials on the island.
Lee described the termination of the account as an “unreasonable bullying act,” whose purpose is to “exert pressure to make him have hesitations” about the upcoming election.
“Any country’s official should strive for the best to defend their country’s national security,” he said. “Their unreasonable act will just strengthen my belief that what I am doing is right.”
While he is disappointed, the termination of his channel is not likely to affect his chances at the top seat. He is the only candidate, appointed by Beijing. Besides, his campaign accounts on Meta’s Instagram and Facebook are still live.
Lee will be confirmed in May by an election committee of 1,500 handpicked business and political elite members.