Citing the need to comply with US sanctions against John Lee Ka-chiu, Hong Kong's sole candidate to succeed Carrie Lam following her decision not to seek another term, YouTube has erased his campaign page.
In response, the city’s former No. 2 official said he was "disappointed" in the decision, but maintained the move wouldn't affect his election campaign. He added he would do his best to communicate with the public using other channels so that people could know him better, according to the Washington Post.
Lee was added to the US sanctions list in 2020 along with Lam and a host of other HK officials for their work in undermining the Democratic rights of the Hong Kong people, going against international law. Lee was cited for overseeing the creation of a special new police force designed to enforce the national security law imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing.
In response to YouTube's decision, Lee said that the US sanctions placed upon him (initially imposed in August 2020 by the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control under then-Secretary Steven Mnuchin) were unfair. "The so-called sanction imposed by the US government due to my work in safeguarding national security is unreasonable, bullying and deliberately wants to put pressure on me," he said in a media briefing on Wednesday afternoon. "It would not make me hesitant, it only makes me believe what I am doing is correct."
In a statement given to the Washington Post, Google said that it "...complies with applicable US sanctions laws and enforces related policies under its Terms of Service. After review and consistent with these policies, we terminated the Johnlee2022 YouTube channel."
Meanwhile, a Meta (formerly known as Facebook) spokesman said Lee can continue to run his Instagram and Facebook campaign pages as a "de-monetized presence", adding that it had also taken steps to prevent his use of payment services.
The decision to censor Lee's YouTube page probably won't have much of an impact on his campaign, since he is the only candidate approved by China to run for the office on May 8.