Hong Kong and Macau get a cross toppler

The South China Morning Post reports:

Former Zhejiang Communist Party chief Xià Bǎolóng 夏宝龙, who gained a reputation as a hardliner overseeing the suppression of Christian churches in the eastern province five years ago, has been named head of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO), according to state news agency Xinhua.

The announcement shows the 67-year-old who has little experience dealing with Hong Kong, still has President Xi Jinping’s full trust, despite approaching retirement age for senior leaders in China and his rather tarnished reputation, according to observers.

In his new role, Xia will have to tackle the biggest political crisis that has embroiled Hong Kong in decades, for which his predecessor Zhāng Xiǎomíng 张晓明, 56, has been widely blamed.

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—Jeremy Goldkorn