YouTube shuts down channel of Hong Kong chief executive candidate John Lee

YouTube shuts down channel of Hong Kong chief executive candidate John Lee
Hong Kong’s former chief secretary and current chief executive candidate John Lee speaks to the media in Hong Kong on April 20, 2022. (Photo by DALE DE LA REY / AFP)

Hong Kong’s chief executive candidate John Lee had a rough day at work when he found out that YouTube terminated his campaign channel, citing US sanctions. Lee said that these “unreasonable acts” won’t affect his chances for the upcoming election on May 8. He is the sole candidate whose run has also reportedly gotten Beijing’s approval.

This isn’t the first time US tech giants have done this. Current Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other sanctioned officials have shared a similar fate with Facebook. Like these individuals, Lee is among the 11 Hong Kong and Chinese officials sanctioned by the US two years ago under the Trump presidency due to their involvement in Hong Kong’s national security law.

Key comments:

“As a U.S. company, we operate under the constraints of U.S. laws, which vary by circumstance. If we identify accounts maintained by or on behalf of people on the U.S. Government’s list of Specially Designated Nationals, we have a legal obligation to take certain action,” said a Google spokesperson. After “review and consistent with these policies,” they “terminated the Johnlee2022 YouTube channel.”

“The so-called sanctions against me are unreasonable and oppressive, and are intended to exert pressure on me, to make me doubt myself," said Lee. “But I have stressed many times that their unreasonable acts only convince me that what I’m doing is right. Therefore I won’t pay their sanctions any mind. They’re not worth my attention."